South Africa – Boehringer Ingelheim South Africa announced today that it has granted a voluntary license to the South African pharmaceutical manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare for the production, distribution and sale of the antiretroviral nevirapine (marketed world wide by Boehringer Ingelheim as VIRAMUNE).
It is the first time that Boehringer Ingelheim has granted a non-exclusive voluntary license to a third party. As Paul Stewart, CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim South Africa put it “in view of the devastating effect of the AIDS pandemic on our country, we have already reduced prices for VIRAMUNE to a fraction of those in Europe and the US. We also offer the same product free of charge to prevent mother-to-child transmission to developing countries. We now grant this license to Aspen as a further gesture of our commitment to combat HIV. Aspen will manufacture locally, a key aspect of the agreement, and the product will be distributed through State institutions to needy patients.”
Stephen Saad, Group CEO of Aspen expressed his satisfaction at the constructive discussions with Boehringer Ingelheim that had led to the conclusion of a voluntary license agreement. He noted that “the nevirapine voluntary license is an important agreement for Aspen and South African healthcare.
Aspen has licenses to the generics of the GSK products combivir, AZT and 3TC and access to the generics for the BMS patents over Zerit and Videx. In order to be in a position to provide cocktail therapy for HIV/AIDS Aspen needed nevirapine.
With nevirapine Aspen is now in a position to provide an affordable and locally manufactured ARV cocktail therapy for South Africa.”
Aspen will also be entitled to export nevirapine to 13 other countries of the SADC region (Angola, Botswana, D.R.C., Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
The license negotiated between Boehringer Ingelheim and Aspen Pharmacare is royalty-free.