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Govt awards R6bn HIV drugs contract

Nov 29 2012 15:12

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Johannesburg - South Africa on Thursday awarded a R5.9bn contract to supply life-prolonging HIV medicine to 12 international and domestic firms, to deal with the country's biggest health problem.

Companies that include Aspen Pharmacare Holdings [JSE:APN], Abbott Laboratories and Adcock Ingram Holdings [JSE:AIP] would share the contract, the health department said.

The R5.9bn contract, effective from April next year, aims to increase the number of people on treatment by nearly 50%, to 2.5 million next year.

South Africa has nearly 6 million people infected with HIV - one of the heaviest caseloads in the world. It also has one of largest treatment programmes.

But drug makers are unlikely to rake in big profits from the government award, analysts have said, given the stiff competition in the bidding.

The health department said it saved R2.2bn on the new contract, which it initially expected it would cost R8.1bn.

Aspen Pharmacare, the country's biggest generic drugs maker, was awarded 20% of the contract while its closest domestic rival, Adcock Ingram was given 14%, the health department said.

Other contracts winners included Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories with 8.1%, and domestic firm Cipla Medpro South Africa [JSE:CMP] with 9%.


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