Government looks to SA for cheap AIDS drugs

Zambian Health Minister Brian Chituwo this week lamented India's decision to stop manufacturing cheap anti-AIDS drugs, noting that the medicines were his country's "lifeline" against the HI virus.

However, in an interview with the local 'Post' newspaper, Chituwo said Zambia was busy exploring ways of procuring affordable antiretrovirals from South Africa.

"I think the [operative] word is affordable. Yes, indeed, it was our lifeline, but that will not deter us - it's a slight setback ... We have already started exploring ways of getting generic drugs from South Africa."

Earlier this month the South African government awarded its long awaited AIDS drug tender to seven pharmaceutical companies, including local generic manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare.