14 July 2008
The Department of Health has awarded a R3.615-billion tender for procurement of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to support the implementation of a comprehensive response to HIV/Aids in the country.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said in Pretoria last month that the awarding of a two-year tender demonstrated the continued commitment of the department to expanding access to HIV/Aids related treatment.
“We have to ensure that there is adequate and uninterrupted supply of the necessary medicine to the accredited treatment centres across the country,” she said.
The South African government ARV tender is the largest in the world, and it is gradually being scaled up to meet the growing number of HIV/Aids patients that are being enrolled in the government’s Aids treatment programme.
Tshabalala-Msimang said that by end of April 2008, the accumulative number of patients initiated on ARVs was more than 478 000, constituting the highest number of people initiated on ARV treatment for any country.
She also noted that the price of most of the items was lower than the last tender with the decreases ranging from 20% to 71%.
“The only one item, Efavirenz 200mg shows an increase of 24%,” she said. “We attribute the reduction in price to the higher volumes and generic entry and a more competitive climate.”
The contracts awarded, varying from 1.9% to 56.8% of the total value, are spread over six suppliers. The six are Aspen Pharmacare with 56.8% of the total contract value, Adcock Ingram with 20.9%, MSD with 9.1%, GlaxoSmithKline with 6.9%, Sonke with 4.5% and Medpro with 1.9%.
Six items have not been awarded and arrangements for their procurement will soon be made.
Reporting on HIV/Aids during a social sector cluster briefing earlier in May, Tshabalala-Msimang said the government’s treatment, care and support intervention was gradually gaining momentum, in line with its commitment to better tackle HIV/Aids.
“As at February 2008, our figures show that at least 456 000 had been initiated on antiretroviral treatment and 39 759 of these are children in all 407 facilities accredited to provide this service,” she said.
“We now have 86% of the sub-districts having at least one service point accredited to provide comprehensive care to people living with HIV/Aids.”