New HIV drug launched in Uganda

August 11, 2015 5:27 am 

KAMPALA, Aug. 10 — The Ugandan government on Sunday launched a cheaper one-pill-a-day drug for HIV treatment.

The single-dose Trioday, which costs only US$ 13.00 per month, replaces the cumbersome 12-drug cocktails that used to be the only option for people with the fatal human immunodeficiency virus.

"We are reaching the phase of the end of the HIV epidemic in Uganda and the region. We had never dreamed about this in 30 to 40 years back," said Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who launched the drug on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni.

The new drug, a triple cocktail anti-retroviral (ARV), is manufactured by Cipla Quality Chemical Industries, Ltd, in Uganda.

President Museveni honored Yusuf Hamied, the global chairman of Cipla, with a lifetime achievement award for manufacturing affordable ARVs and malaria drugs.

"It's with great gratitude and honor that I receive this award bestowed to me by Uganda. We are going to expand and construct new facility to manufacture more ARVs, anti-malarial drugs and others at lower costs," said Hamied.

Uganda still falls short of its goal of ensuring that 80 percent of people living with HIV receive ARVs by the end of 2015. At present, just half of the 1.5 million in need of HIV treatment in the country are on the life-prolonging ARVs, according to Uganda AIDS Commission statistics.

At least 137,000 new HIV infections were recorded in Uganda in 2014, according to the Health Ministry.

Prime Minister Rugunda also launched Texavir, a Hepatitis B drug manufactured by Cipla, the first ever Hepatitis B drug manufactured in Africa.

At least 3.5 million people in Uganda are living with Hepatitis B,Health Ministry statistics suggest. (PNA/Xinhua)

LGI/SSC

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