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SA urges Pepfar to buy more African HIV/Aids drugs

South African pharmaceutical companies have urged the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) to shift 2m patients to made-in-Africa HIV/Aids medicines by 2030.

This will boost the continent’s drugmaking capacity and provide protection against future health security threats, they argue.

The world’s biggest HIV/Aids donor, Pepfar is credited with saving more than 25m lives with the more than $110bn it has dispensed over the past 20 years to countries pulverised by the disease, including SA.

However, although Sub-Saharan Africa homes two-thirds of the world’s HIV/Aids burden, less than 1% of the $750m spent by Pepfar each year on HIV/Aids-related commodities goes to African-sourced products, reports BusinessLIVE.

Local manufacturers are now appealing to Pepfar to make good on a commitment from December 2022 to shift around 2m HIV/Aids patients on antiretroviral treatment to African-made medicines by 2030.

“We would like to build on the success of Gavi’s African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator, with incentives for African pharmaceutical manufacturers,” said Pharmaceuticals Made in SA (Pharmisa) chair Stavros Nicolaou.

In an international vaccine initiative, Gavi announced a $1bn package in 2023 that would support African vaccine manufacturers to build capacity.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers on the continent that might benefit from such support include Aspen Pharmacare and Adcock Ingram, as well as drugmakers in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

US global aid co-ordinator John Nkengasong said spending on health commodities should be viewed as insurance against future health risks, and that discussion on how best to support African pharmaceutical manufacturers should include other donor agencies like the Global Fund to Fight HIV/Aids, TB and Malaria, and development finance institutions like the African Development Bank and World Bank.

Steps have already been taken by Pepfar to promote African manufacturers of HIV tests and in 2025, he added, it intends spending $20m on procuring 15m HIV tests produced by these companies.

Nkengasong was in South Africa last week with a bipartisan US congressional delegation, and attended a series of events including a special session on the role of young people in ending HIV/Aids as a public health threat by 2030. On Friday, Pepfar announced a new $20m initiative to boost HIV/Aids programmes targeting young people, including in this country.


BBusinessLIVE article – SA pharmas urge Pepfar to buy more African-made HIV/Aids drugs (Restricted access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Pepfar boss pledges ongoing support to SA in HIV/Aids fight


Pepfar changes strategy, empowers Africa in HIV battle


New PEPFAR boss urges global health community to learn from African research

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