Cambodian-Made AIDS Drugs on Shelves

The first Cambodian-manufactured anti-retroviral drugs went on sale at Phnom Penh pharmacies on Wednesday. Advocates hope producing the drugs here will eventually im­prove the availability of the drugs to Cambodian AIDS patients.

On Wednesday morning, the drugs had arrived at the Khmer Phar­m­acy in Daun Penh district, but no one had purchased them.

Pharmacist Lim Tevy, 50, said the store usually sells about five bulk orders of foreign-made anti-AIDS drugs each month—mostly to clinics—but customers had not yet heard of the Cambodian-made product.

Hout Sarim, director of the Cam­bodian Pharmaceutical En­ter­­prise, which manufactures the drugs, said sales agents would make the generic drugs available to 400 legally operating pharmacies in Phnom Penh and throughout the provinces.

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Hout Sarim said the factory could boost that to 2 million of each pill if there is sufficient demand in Cambodia and in export markets.

The Cambodian Pharma­ceu­tical Enterprise, which is operated and owned by the government and a private company in Hong Kong, purchased the re­quired technology and materials from a private company in Eur­ope that is recognized for its quality by the World Health Org­an­ization, Hout Sarim said.

He said the treatments of two pills per day would cost about $30 per month, which is slightly cheap­­er than generic drugs im­ported from abroad, but still beyond the financial reach of most Cambodians suffering from the disease.

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