The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, where more than 25 million have the disease, National Daily learnt.
The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is said to be the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has reportedly put it out of reach for most people struggling with the disease in Africa.
Robert Matiru, a representative of Unitaid,, an NGO, said “the generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper.”
“It works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria,” he added.
Matiru described the drug as “the most effective HIV treatment currently on the market.”
A box of 30 pills of DTG, which lasts a month, reportedly costs between $25 (21 euros) and $50. The generic version only costs $4.
Kenya has already started rolling out the new drug, which will initially be provided for free to 27,000 people living with HIV who are intolerant to the side effects of the current best drug used in the country.
It will reportedly become available nationwide later in the year, and will also be rolled out in Nigeria and Uganda.
Matiru said the drug is easier to take than those currently on the market, requiring only one pill a day, causing fewer side effects, and patients are less likely to develop resistance.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 37 million people live with HIV/AIDS around the world, with 70 percent of them being in Africa.