Cipla to supply AIDS drugs to Malaysia

MUMBAI, FEB. 26. Cipla has received a compulsory licence from Malaysia for the supply of anti-retroviral medicines used in the treatment of Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

This is, in fact, the first compulsory licence issued by any government following the decision on Para 6 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement in August 2003. This provision allows countries to waive patent claims of original manufacturers and source the medicines from cheaper, non-patent producers in case of emergency or a public health crisis.

Speaking to The Hindu, Amar Lulla, Joint Managing Director, Cipla said, "The order is for the supply of four products — Lamivudine, Didanosine, Zidovudine and one combination drug of Lamivudine and Zidovudine — and is open-ended. The order is for significant volumes of the drugs and we will be supplying the products over a two year period in a phased manner.''

He further added that in the first year, the order was for the treatment of one lakh AIDS patients and that the first consignment would be shipped soon. While Bristol-Myers Squibb holds the patent for Didanosine, the patents for Zidovudine and Lamivudine are with GlaxoSmithKline Pharma.