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Home-made AIDS Drugs Debut
The country's first batch of home-made AIDS drugs will arrive in central China today from their production base in Shanghai.

"The batch of home-made drugs was shipped from Shanghai to central China on Sunday afternoon and is expected to arrive there in two days," said Tian Hongya, a spokeswoman with Shanghai Desano Bio-pharmaceutical Co Ltd, yesterday.

The drugs, which can be used to complete two cocktail therapies, are the first batch of domestically produced AIDS medicines. They can supply 3,000 AIDS patients for one year, according to Tian.

The company, located in the city's Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, obtained a production license from the State Drug Administration (SDA) in September to sell two formulations - Didanosine (DDI) and Stavudine (D4T).

The two formulations are popular in cocktail therapies against the HIV virus.

According to the company, the batch of drugs was bought by the State Economic and Trade Commission, while the central government has ordered further production for one year's supply for 2,000 AIDS patients.

Zhang Junjie, who is in charge of the AIDS drug project, said a cocktail therapy using the domestically made drugs will cost around 5,000 yuan (US$602) per patient every year - compared with 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) for imported drugs.

Vice-Mayor Yang Xiaodu said on a visit to the company last weekend that the city government will support the national scheme to promote home-made AIDS drugs.

The central government has been encouraging local production of AIDS drugs since last year.

Henan Province in central China has the largest AIDS population, according to domestic media.

The Ministry of Health reported in June that China has 1 million HIV/AIDS victims.

(China Daily January 28, 2003)

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