Fri, 24 Sep 2004
Glaxosmithkline Grants A Fourth Voluntary Licence For The Manufacture And Sale Of Hiv/Aids Medicines In Africa
Issued - Wednesday 22 September 2004, London GlaxoSmithKline today announced further action to help tackle the HIV/AIDS
pandemic in Africa.
GSK has granted a voluntary licence under its patents to Cosmos Limited, a Kenyan pharmaceutical company, for the
manufacture and sale of antiretrovirals (ARVs) containing zidovudine and/or lamivudine in the public and private sectors
in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. GSK currently sells zidovudine (sold as Retrovir®), lamivudine (sold as
Epivir®) and the combination of the two molecules (sold as Combivir®) across the region.
GSK is one of the world's leading manufacturers of ARV medicines and has been instrumental in efforts over the past few
years to improve access to ARV medication through its preferential pricing programme which is in operation around Africa
and in the other developing countries. Furthermore GSK is the industry leader in HIV research and development, bringing
to market newer and more effective medications for treating HIV disease.
Cosmos produces quality drugs on the WHO essential drugs list to meet the healthcare challenges in Kenya and throughout
the region. Under the terms of the agreement Cosmos is granted the right to manufacture and distribute ARVs in Kenya,
Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Cosmos will obtain all appropriate health registrations, permissions, consent and
regulatory authorisations relating to the manufacture and sale of the product. As a major supplier of essential drugs to
various medical institutions, Cosmos is well placed to provide ARVs in the region.
"This announcement amplifies GSK's long-standing and continuing commitment to improve access to medicines in developing
countries - a commitment the company is very proud of and will maintain far into the future," GSK East Africa general
manager pharmaceuticals Andrew Bulloch says.
"We are pleased that another local healthcare company will play a significant role in addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis."
To facilitate the distribution of reduced-price product in relation to this voluntary licence, Shire Pharmaceuticals
Group plc, which has a Master Licence agreement with GSK, has agreed to waive or reduce its rights to royalty payments
from GSK for products containing lamivudine.
The licence, which is the subject of today's announcement, is GlaxoSmithKline's fourth voluntary licence granted to
African generics companies for the sale of some of its antiretrovirals in Africa. The other three licences which cover
Sub-Saharan Africa were granted to Feza Pharmaceuticals, Aspen Pharmacare and Thembalami Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited.
GSK NZ is the largest supplier of anti-retrovirals in New Zealand and we have facilitated the supply of medicines to
some Pacific Islands on the Not For Profit pricing Initiative.