State hands out R10bn ARV tenders

Four pharmaceutical companies were jointly awarded a R10-billion tender to provide the health department with antiretroviral medication for three years.

“Various pharmaceutical companies won the three-year tender worth more than R10 billion to supply ARVs to millions of patients on treatment in South Africa for 2015 to 2017,” the department said today.

The tender was awarded as follows: Sonke Pharmaceuticals: R3 billion, Mylan Pharmaceuticals: R2.8 billion, Aspen Pharma: R2.5 billion and Cipla Medpro: R2 billion.

“There are more than 2.7 million people on ARV treatment in South Africa with about 1.5 million receiving the fixed-dose combination,” the department said.

“The health department aims to have about 4.6 million people on treatment by the end if 2016.”

In April last year, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the state was aiming to distribute the fixed dose combination.

Motsoaledi said at the time the simplified ARV medication would see people with HIV taking one tablet a day instead of three.

“We believe that the roll-out of the fixed-dose combination will assist a great deal in the management and treatment of HIV,” he said at the time.

“The fixed-dose combination will improve compliance and reduce the risk of patients not complying with treatment dosage.”

Motsoaledi said the “three drugs in one pill” was highly effective in reducing the viral load and would improve a patient’s immune response.

Newly diagnosed patients and HIV-positive pregnant women were put on fixed-dose combinations from the beginning of April 2013, while other “non-complicated” patients were switched to fixed-dose combinations on a permanent basis in June 2013.

Yesterday, Cipla Medpro chief executive Paul Miller said Cipla was proud to have been recognised as a preferred partner of the state in the national fight against HIV and Aids.

Miller said this was the third government tender win in the last year for Cipla Medpro.

It won a R280-million state therapeutic drug tender in August and a R345 million national respiratory tender in June.

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