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Tussle between Government and Pharma major Cipla, causes 500 children to face shortage of HIV drug

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Due to payment tussle between Indian Government and pharmaceutical company Cipla, more than 600 children are affected and deprived from, anti-HIV syrup Lopinavir. This development comes in the backdrop of the National Aids Control Organization (NACO) running out of stock of lopinavir and ritonavir syrup, as Cipla Ltd, the sole supplier, phased out production of the syrup in 2015 and replaced it with pellets. However, lopinavir and ritonavir pellets are not approved and registered in India as yet.

As reported by DNA, pharma major Cipla told National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)  that they won’t be able to supply the drug. A series of email exchanges between the company officials, the government officials and the HIV community, in which the drug manufacturing company hinted that it will not budge from its decision until the government clear the pending bills.

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The Health Ministry on Tuesday released Rs 6 crore due to the pharma company for previous procurements of Lopinavir. Cipla is the sole large scale manufacturer of Lopinavir, and when NACO did not receive Cipla’s participation for the tender bid that was floated last month, NACO got little alarmed. Cipla informed NACO that they had stopped manufacturing the syrup all together and moved on to manufacturing pellets as an alternative Pellets are micro-tablets of the drugs Lopinavir and Retonavir that can be sprinkled over the child’s food.

Cipla is currently finalizing a new formulation of antiretroviral drug, which will include four products in single formulation, which will take the form of tasteless granules. The company hopes to make it available in 2018.

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