SA announces HIV drugs partnership

2012-02-10 14:18

Cape Town - The South African government has announced a joint venture to reduce the cost of anti-retroviral drugs with a Swiss company.

This joint venture named Ketlaphela will establish the first pharmaceutical plant to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs] for anti-retroviral medicines in South Africa," Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor announced on Friday.

Ketlaphela, which means "I will live or survive" in Sesotho was created with an investment of more than R1bn by various state bodies and will be built at the Pelindaba site in Gauteng.

Pandor said that the purpose of producing the APIs locally was to try and reduce the cost of drugs to combat HIV that causes Aids.

"Ketlaphela will reduce the country's dependence on imported drugs and will provide security of supply of priority drugs, stable pricing with less sensitivity to exchange."

Local manufacture

Local companies already produce generic drugs for HIV, but all the APIs have to be imported, which raises the cost of medications.

South Africa imports over R25bn worth of drugs annually and it is estimated that local manufacture of the API will greatly reduce the cost of HIV, TB and malaria medications.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaldi said that the cost of medications has declined and is expected further reductions of up to 40% once the facility is functional.

SA holds the second largest deposits of fluorspar globally and through Pelchem, SA will attempt to increase the beneficiation of the mineral which is essential to produce APIs which can account for 75% of the cost of medication.

Pandor said that she hopes this partnership with Lonza will create a thriving biotechnology sector in the country.

"Ketlaphela will leapfrog South Africa into the 21st century as far as local pharmaceutical manufacturing is concerned, It will provide new opportunities for South African scientists and pharmaceutical companies," she said.

Government officials estimate that the facility will create additional 2 200 jobs in the sector.

"These jobs will include direct and indirect jobs in both the formal and informal sector of the economy. An estimated 3 800 jobs will be created during the construction phase," Pandor said.

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  • StarStruck - 2012-02-10 14:41

    I see another Watergate scandal around the corner. With too much money comes too much stealing. Other then that I say well done. Finally some actual projects to create jobs and cheaper medicine. It's a win win.

      kaMazibuko - 2012-02-10 15:30

      i see another a$$wipe who can't applaud a good initiative by our government

      Bongani - 2012-02-10 15:45

      It seems people have decided to stop using their brains if they have any. Why can’t we look at things like adults? This same thing was proposed as an idea by Barbara while she was minister of health and all white people in this site applauded it, but now because a black minister is implementing it we call it all kinds of names filled with negativity. Come on people

  • braamc - 2012-02-10 14:57

    Local is lekker. Well done!

  • Blignault - 2012-02-10 15:15

    Will the facility ever be completed and go into production? 1 Bn is that budget, 1st phase of full project completion? Another, scam on it's way. New Merc's for all!!

      kaMazibuko - 2012-02-10 15:30

      i see another a$$wipe who can't applaud a good initiative by our government

      Marius - 2012-02-10 15:40

      @kaMazibuko Yes, it may be a good initiative but unfortunately our current government has not got a good track record. They lack the oomph! to complete projects without the cloud of corruption shadowing everything.

      kaMazibuko - 2012-02-13 09:26

      @Blignaut, just because the government didn't do well before u suggest they don't do anything ? We have the public protector, the SIU, the media, fed-up communities and more exposing corruption which is the single most destructive thing hampering our progress as a country.

  • kaMazibuko - 2012-02-10 15:29

    great stuff

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-02-10 15:53

    great stuff...lets trust all the doomsday posts don't materialize

      william - 2012-02-10 16:02


  • sbudda.o.brien - 2012-02-10 16:01

    Gooooooooooooooood -SB-

  • Michael - 2012-02-10 16:19

    Lonza Confirms Talks with South African Government Regarding the Establishment of a Joint Venture Basel, Switzerland, 10 February 2012 – Lonza confirms to be in discussions and negotiations with the South African Government regarding the establishment of a local joint venture called Ketlaphela for the establishment of a local manufacturing facility for Anti-Retroviral Medicines. The discussions are still at an early stage and nothing has been signed. Amazing LONZA website states things a bit differently....I believe Lonza

  • phathuchicos - 2012-02-10 16:27

    this is what they were supposed to have done during early 2000. Anyway that's a step in a right direction because it's gonna create employment at the same time...bravo

  • Lawrence - 2012-02-22 07:16

    Good idea,as long as no-one puts his/her nose there looking for money.

  • Garysyd705 - 2012-02-28 10:01

    A Nigerian man called his mom: Mom, I have AIDS. Mother: Heeeee...chinekee! Don't come back home woo, my son woo, don't come back home. God forbid! Man: Why mom, why now, what I do nowooo? Mother: foolish boy! You see my son, if you come back home, then your wife will be infected. From your wife to your broda, from your broda to our maido, from our maido to your DAADY, from your daady to my sisto, from my sisto to her hosband, from him to me, from me to the gardener, from the gardener to your sister. And if your sister got AIDS, heeeee, then the whole village is in trouble..wooo ! So in the name of GODwoo...PLEASE SAVE OUR VILLAGEwoo, DON'T COME BACK HOMEwoo!!

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