18 July 2016: Cipla Limited today announced that negotiations to establish manufacturing facilities in Morocco and later in Algeria are in advanced stages of discussion. The pharmaceutical aims to establish these facilities through joint ventures, thereby increasing its antiretroviral (ARV) manufacturing capacity in Africa.
This is according to Paul Miller, CEO of Cipla SA – the third largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the country and subsidiary of Cipla Limited, who says that currently one-in-three HIV/Aids patients in Africa use a Cipla product. “These ARVs are produced by Cipla Medpro Manufacturing (CMM), based in KwaZulu-Natal and Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd. (CiplaQCLI) in Uganda. CiplaQCLI currently manufactures ARVs for the treatment of approximately 250 000 patients.”
“We hope to increase our manufacturing capacity on the continent significantly through the new manufacturing facilities in Morocco and Algeria.”
In addition to these facilities, Cipla has commissioned a dedicated ARV manufacturing facility in India in order to double its manufacturing capacity, adds Miller. “This unit has been made ready in a record period of 9 months and was commissioned to meet the increased demand for ARVs in order to treat 90% of the HIV population – as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ambitious 90-90-90 program.”
Miller says that the last International Aids Conference, which took place in KwaZulu-Natal, Durban in 2000, marked a time when close to 8000 patients were dying daily from Aids related infections, mainly due to insufficient access to affordable medication. “Since then, Cipla – under the guidance of Chairman, Dr Yusuf Hamied – has played a significant part in saving the lives of approximately 10-million Africans by putting them on treatment, when the pharmaceutical made unique fixed-dose-combination ARVs available for a dollar a day.”
“Today Cipla supplies ARVs to over a 100 countries and reaches approximately 20-million patients globally – most of which are based in Africa.”
Miller points to the decision of the South African Department of Health to distribute ARVs to all HIV patients regardless of their CD4 count from September this year. “A team effort between Government and pharmaceutical manufacturers – specifically those servicing the 2015-2017 national ARV tender – will have a key role to play in reaching this objective.”
In an effort to provide for the increased ARV demand, Cipla SA has recently invested R500-million in upgrading its local manufacturing facility, CMM, to be Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) compliant. “These upgrades, together with the medication provided by our India based partner, Cipla Limited, will ensure that we are able to fulfil an increased ARV quota.”
“We are currently developing unique fixed dose combinations and formulations and will continue to promote new molecules and innovative fixed-dose combinations as well as licencing agreements to ensure fair returns for investors and affordable prices for patients. Cipla is further working on nanoparticles, which will bring down the cost of anti-AIDS drugs substantially.”
“We are honoured to host key stakeholders and activists at the Durban2Durban forum where we will discuss the huge strides that have taken place over the last 16 years, as well as the way forward,” concludes Miller.
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