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Apotex ships Canada's first drugs under TRIPS

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

The Canadian company Apotexhas shipped seven million tablets of its HIV/AIDS triple combination drug Apo-TriAvir (zidovudine, lamivudine plus nevirapine) to treat up to 21,000 people in Rwanda. The shipment, which took place on September 24th from Toronto, was approved under Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), which was established in May 2004 to allow Canadian generic drug makers to produce patented drugs legally and to export them to developing countries using flexibilities in the World Trade Organization's TRIPS agreement. However, the CAMR process is complicated, and Apotex is the only company since its 2004 launch to have submitted a proposal and negotiated the CAMR process, receiving official approval in May (Scrip Online, May 9th, 2008). Apotex president Jack Kay described the process as "complex" and said "the regime must be changed… It is now up to the federal government to fix CAMR." Apotex is expected to provide a second shipment of seven million doses of Apo-TriAvir in September 2009. The company is completing the work on a humanitarian, not-for-profit basis.

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