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Localized Production of AIDS Drugs Cuts Cost
Shanghai recently approved the sale of three drugs used to create the so-called "cocktail" for treating HIV-positive and AIDS patients.

The in-China production of the raw materials for didanosine, stavudine and nevirapine drops their cost to a mere 10 percent of the imported drugs, while the curative effects remain similar to that of the imports, said a local medical official.

Shanghai will also soon begin sale of another medicine named Zidovudine, which has passed the state technical assessment. The four drugs can be used in making two groups of "cocktail treatments".

The number of HIV carriers and AIDS patients in China has increased to one million since the first AIDS patient was found in 1985. The medical cost of each patient ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 yuan (US$3,614-6,024) on average, a price few patients can afford to pay.

When the new drugs go on sale, the annual cost of AIDS drugs for each patient is expected to drop to 3,000 to 5,000 yuan.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2002)

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