GSK Secures Deal to Offer HIV Medications in Africa

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GlaxoSmithKline’s ViiV Healthcare business will provide its hit HIV treatment ‘Dolutegravir’ to millions of Africans who suffer from the virus. This will mark the first time dolutegravir will be offered in Africa since its recommendation in 2015. The tender agreement with the Botswana Ministry of Health will see dolutegravir, also known by its brand name Tivicay, made available to all Botswanans newly diagnosed with HIV as part of a national ‘Treat All’ programme, which aims to ensure those living with the disease get tested and receive treatment.

Dolutegravir was developed by ViiV Healthcare, Glaxo’s joint venture with US drug maker Pfizer and Japan’s Shionogi, and was the first of the HIV specialist’s drugs to gain regulatory approval. Glaxo co-founded ViiV Healthcare along with Pfizer in 2009 to pool research into HIV medications.

Dolutegravir treats the most common strain of the Aids-causing virus HIV and can be used across a broad sweep of patients, including those who do not respond to other medications. It slows down the spread of HIV in the body by interfering with a substance required for the virus to multiply.

Dr Dominique Limet, chief executive of ViiV Healthcare, said: “This tender agreement is a great moment as part of our commitment to accelerating access to our treatments in Africa. It will allow people living with HIV in Botswana to have access to dolutegravir as part of a national test and treat initiative.

In March, chief executive Sir Andrew Witty unveiled plans to make the company’s latest drugs available to the world’s poorest people at a fraction of the commercial price after saying it would no longer seek patents for medications launched in countries classified by the United Nations as ‘least developed’ or ‘low income’.

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