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Wednesday, 8 August, 2007

Canada (nearly) ready to export first cheap AIDS drugs to Africa

After three years of bureaucratic paralysis, the first pharmaceutical agreement has finally been made under , a WTO-associated program intended to provide any inexpensive AIDS drugs to Africa by coordinating distribution of generic versions of patent-protected medications.

Rwanda requested July 17, via the , that Canada supply 18 million Apo-triAvir tablets, . The drug's generic manufacturer Apotex needed permission from Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Boehringer agreed July 25 and now, with , the shipment will go ahead.

CAMR has faced serious criticisms for its failure to export any drugs since its formation in 2004. Federal health minister Tony Clement (left, with Stephen Harper) ordered a full review of the program at last year's International AIDS Conference in Toronto. The Star reports .

For a backgrounder on the issues, check out from last year.

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