Instead of taking three individual pills, (Fixed Drug Combnations) FDCs are a combination of all these drugs in a single pill called Atroiza that can be conveniently popped just once a day. Not only is Atroiza cheaper to purchase from the pharmaceutical companies licensed to distribute them, (Health Dept now pays R90 instead of R150 per patient) but they are actually the cheapest in the world. In addition to that, the medication is said to have far fewer side effects -- but more importantly reduces the risk of patients defaulting from treatment. Primary preference for the drug is given to HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as newly diagnosed HIV or TB patients.
The drug dealers
The three pharma companies awarded the multi-billion Rand tender to supply the health department with the drugs are Aspen Pharmacare: a multi-national South African drug company which is also the biggest manufacturer in Africa, Cipla Medpro: SA's third largest pharma and Mylan Pharmaceuticals from Pennsylvania, USA. A major manufacturer of generic drugs globally. Its this competition government and major opposition parties alike are attributing to the lower costs of the drugs.
Money, money, money
South Africa.Info says Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the deal saved the department more than R2billion. Not only are the drugs cheaper to purchase from the pharmaceutical companies licensed to distribute them, (Health Dept now pays R90 instead of R150 per patient) but they are actually the cheapest in the world.
Whats in the drug?
The FDC contains a potent cocktail of emtricitabine, efavirenz and tenofovir that is guaranteed to keep those HIV viruses subdued as long as you keep popping the pills.Paul Miller, Mylan CEO says "If the patients take their tablets at least 90% of the time, in other terms, not miss more than two or three tablets in a month, they will respond well to therapy. They will live longer as a healthy person."
Everybody wants a fix
Doctors Without Boarders says the drugs are good news for the 1.7million HIV pistive South Africans on ARV's, lobby group Treatment Action Campaign applauds the roll out while Health4Men HIV Clinic in Cape Town wants even more pills to be rolled out to avoid them going sold out.
|Source: Sowetan Live|
On the Sowetan Live, Zuluchick says: "I heard the current pills are thick as phuck, I wouldn't last on ARVs." S.Cold says, "Eish I hate taking these cocktails, at least now I'll have less loads. Easier to hide from my talkative friends," while Dithabs says its all good. "Good news indeed! Even the cocktail is okay as long as it doesn’t make you sick. I take three pills a day, hakuna mathata! I am okay with the whole treatment."
No group has protested or warned against any possible dangers the new drugs could bring.