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GSK commits to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa

GSK has announced new initiatives to improve research, development and access to HIV/AIDS medicines for children in Sub-Saharan Africa

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced new initiatives to improve research, development and access to HIV/AIDS medicines for children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The pharmaceutical company will create a new 'Positive Action for Children Fund', providing £50m over 10 years. A further £10m will be invested in research and development of new HIV/AIDS medicines for children through a Public Private Partnership.

In addition to this funding, GSK has made a voluntary licence agreement with South African Aspen Pharmacare to develop a cheaper generic version of Ziagen (abacavir) – GSK's HIV/AIDS treatment. The company is also investigating the feasibility of collaborations with other manufacturers to develop new combination treatments.

Speaking at the Zingatia Maisha HIV programme in Kenya, Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said that the treatment of children with HIV/AIDS remains a significant unmet medical need and that we must do a better job at preventing HIV in children.

"Our objective for Africa is clear - to make existing medicines as widely available as possible while at the same time ensuring sustained investment into R&D for a new generation of medicines," Witty said.

As part of their commitment to improving global health, GSK has a policy of providing HIV medicines to countries most in need on a not-for-profit basis. GSK has eight licensing agreements covering anti-retrovirals in Africa. Under these terms, 279 million generic Epivir (lamivudine) and Combivir (Zidovudine + Lamivudine) tablets were supplied to Africa in 2008.

In April, GSK and Pfizer announced the formation of a new company focusing on research, development and commercialisation of HIV medicines. The commitment of the new company to fighting HIV/AIDS in the world's poorest countries is reiterated in this latest announcement.

15th July 2009

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