Thursday 29 May 2008


Cipla licenses ARV technology into Uganda

Some better news concerning drugs in Uganda this time: in "Technology from India makes AIDS drugs in Uganda", by Patralekha Chatterjee, Thaindian News reports that technology transferred by Indian generic drug maker Cipla to an unspecified Ugandan partner is jumpstarting the local manufacture of key antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to combat HIV/AIDS in that country. This is said to be an improvement over treatment by imported branded drugs -- which was not only a drain on the national government but also exposed Uganda to the risk of supply disruption “if donors decided to stop supplies in case of political differences”.



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29 May 2008 at 13:49 delete

Ugandans appreciate this new investment as it will bring in jobs. Some of the niggling concerns are that the terms of the deal itself,in which the government made quite a few promises to the Indian investor, are still unclear.

For instance, it is reported that the investor sought a guarantee from the government that it would exclusively purchase ARV drugs from this entity (CIPLA & Quality Chemicals Joint VEnture). The problem is that the government does not actually purchase most of these drugs since they are largely paid for by donors and the Global Fund for HIV-AIDS, which has insisted that all procurement should be competitively tendered out!

Also, CIPLA is an indian firm, as to all intents and purposes is Quality Chemicals, the local partner. The Investment Code Act, as well as the Patent Act of Uganda, require licences to be registered in cases where technology is transferred etc. This has not been done so, in my view, the jury is still out on this one!