- Canada's largest generic pharmaceutical company, Apotex, has won a tender to supply life saving triple combination AIDS drug "Apo Triavir" to the government of Rwanda.
Apotex is the first company to provide this medicine to Africa under the provisions of the Canadian Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR).
The CAMR provides a mechanism for developing countries to address critical healthcare needs by importing less expensive generic versions of patented drugs. After going through a three-year process, Apotex has got to a point where its drug can go to thousands in Africa.
Apotex is the only company in Canada to have worked through the complicated CAMR process. The Generic Pharmaceutical Industry has recommended that the Federal Government simplify the process of getting urgently needed drugs to Africa.
Apo Triavir, which has been evaluated and approved under the provision of the CAMR by Health Canada, is a combination of 300 mg Zidovudine, 150 mg Lamivudine and 200 mg Nevirapine. Triavir fully conforms to all Health Canada regulations and requirements for marketing a drug in the Canadian healthcare system. As per Canadian regulations, the product can only be exported to eligible countries under CAMR and cannot be sold in Canada until the relevant patents expire.
The price quoted in the tender has been pegged at US 19.5 cents per tablet. The three separate AIDS brand products would cost around US $6.00 per dose if bought individually.
"If other critical medicines are to go to Africa in a reasonable timeframe, the federal government must change the CAMR Legislation," Apotex President, Jack Kay said in press statement.
"CAMR is unworkable as it now stands. Apotex decided to do this because it was the right thing to do for the people dying from AIDS in Africa."
The Apotex Group has 6,000 employees in Canada and exports close to 300 quality lower cost medicines to 115 countries.
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