September 18, 2009
For Immediate Release
Second Shipment Of Life-Saving Aids Drug Leaving For Africa
Toronto, ON (September 18, 2009) - Apotex Inc. today announced that the second shipment of Apo-TriAvir, the generic triple-combination AIDS drug produced to simplify AIDS treatment in developing countries, was leaving for Rwanda, the only country to have benefited from Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). CAMR was created by Parliament more than 5 years ago, but because of the costly and complicated process it requires, no other company has come forward to participate in producing more affordable, life-saving generic drugs for export to developing countries.
The first part of the Apo-TriAvir shipment left last September. The total quantity of medicines authorized for export to Rwanda represents enough to treat approximately 21,000 people living with HIV for one year. Under CAMR, the process would have to be completely restarted if Rwanda needs to reorder more of the same medicine or if any other developing country wanted to place an order. So far, no other developing country has indicated it wishes to jump through the hoops imposed by CAMR.
"The federal government and Parliament must fix or change the legislation if we want to meet the original intent of getting life-saving drugs to developing countries," stated Mr. Jack Kay, President and COO of Apotex. "If CAMR is simplified with the changes that are before Parliament,, Apotex has already made a commitment to develop and produce a pediatric AIDs drug which would save thousands of children suffering from this disease." Currently, Bill S-232 in the Senate and the similar Bill C-393 in the House of Commons propose to make important reforms to make CAMR more straightforward and better suited for generic drug manufacturers and developing countries needing to import those medicines.
Apotex, headquartered in Toronto, is the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company with close to 5,000 employees in 20 facilities. In 2008, it was the top Canadian pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) company and will spend $2 billion over the next 10 years on R&D.