Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Philanthropic Roche shares manufacturing technology with Africa

04/06/2007 - Switzerland-based Roche is helping African nations fight the AIDS epidemic by sharing its coveted saquinavir drug-producing technology with two more manufacturers in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

As part of the drug giant's Technology Transfer Initiative, the Addis Pharmaceutical factory in Ethiopia and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe will be provided, free of charge, with the technical expertise and guidance to manufacture generic HIV medicine, based on processes to produce saquinavir, Roche's second line HIV medicine.

The two companies join five others across Africa which have received the technology since the initiative's launch in January last year.

A Roche spokeswoman told the scheme was like the analogy of teaching a man to fish so he could eat for a life time, rather than handing the man a fish so he can eat for the day.

By being locally manufactured, the dependency on western countries for treatment would be greatly reduced, she said.

Roche chief executive William Burns said in a statement: "These new agreements highlight the positive contribution that the Technology Transfer Initiative is making to help strengthen and expand local manufacturing capabilities for HIV medicines in Africa. Now entering its second year, the initiative reinforces Roche's commitment to find long-term, sustainable solutions to help increase access to healthcare in the world's poorest countries."

A team of Roche experts will work onsite at the manufacturing facilities in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe to help transfer the technology.

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