--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

AZT Available Next Month
AIDS patients could benefit from a cheaper, Chinese-made version of the drug zidovudine or AZT as early as next month, said a pharmaceutical firm's representative.

Gou Xilian, a public-relations officer with the Northeast Pharmaceutical Group, Thursday said that the firm had already faxed detailed information about zidovudine to special AIDS hospitals in the hope that they will buy the product.

Zidovudine should be taken in conjunction with two other medicines as an anti-AIDS "cocktail".

All AIDS medicines used in China so far have been imported.

The company got the necessary approval from the State Drug Administration only last week and is now busy marketing the medicine.

The company started to manufacture zidovudine in early 2000 but all the products were exported. Therefore, there will be no technical difficulties for the company, said Gou.

"We are trying our best to get things ready as soon as possible," he said. "It will quite possibly be available to patients in special AIDS hospitals this September."

Zhang Ke, a doctor who specializes in treating AIDS at Beijing's You'an Hospital, welcomed the introduction of the Chinese-made AIDS medicine.

Although zidovudine is only a part of the "cocktail," its localization will effectively lessen the financial burden of Chinese suffering from AIDS, most of whom are stuck in poverty, said Zhang.

Zhang and his colleagues treat 100 to 200 AIDS patients every week, with more than 90 percent of the patients coming from the countryside and having little or no income.

For these people, monthly treatment using wholly imported medicine and costing between 2,000 yuan (US$241) and 3,000 yuan (US$362) is simply out of their reach.

"A reasonable cost of treatment for most Chinese patients would be less than 300 yuan (US$36) for a single month," said Zhang. "Through the localization of the production of these medicines, this is not an unattainable goal at all."

The cost of the Chinese-made zidovudine will be only about one-tenth that of the imported version but have the same effectiveness.

Moreover, said Zhang, many Chinese pharmaceutical producers have said they are capable of producing internationally recognized AIDS drugs, though none of them has the capacity to develop their own.

A source with the State Drug Administration confirmed that the body is examining applications from "several" Chinese producers to manufacture AIDS drugs.

The 56-year-old Northeast Pharmaceutical Group Company is one such applicant. Gou said the firm expects to produce other AIDS medicines as well as zidovudine in the near future.

The company hopes to develop China's first research and production base for AIDS medicines.

"One unfortunate fact is that the demand for such medicine is expanding in China, and it is important to ensure that patients have access to affordable and effective medicines," said Gou.

It is estimated that there were 850,000 registered HIV-positive people in China at the end of 2001. The number increased to one million in the first half of this year.

(China Daily August 16, 2002)

Nation Mobilizes to Fight AIDS/HIV
Milestone Drug Makes Debut for Detecting HIV
South China AIDS Education Program Targets Teens
Students Promote HIV/AIDS Awareness in Rural Regions
Zhejiang Sets up AIDS Consultative Center
Sino-US Cooperation on Fighting AIDS
China to Work out Policy for Caring AIDS Victims
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688