An HIV drug, approved less than 3 years ago, will now be rolled out in Botswana as a core medicine for patients newly diagnosed, following the largest ever tender secured by GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV business in Africa.
ViiV Healthcare, said on Friday it was the first time that Tivicay, or dolutegravir, was being made available as a first-line treatment as part of a national health program in sub-Saharan Africa.
Financial details were not given in regard of the contract between ViiV and the Ministry of Health in Botswana. However, the company has said in the past it would operate tiered pricing, with lower prices for poorer countries.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the base of the HIV epidemic for decades and nearly three quarters of all people with the AIDS-causing virus live there.
The World Health Organization recommended the use of dolutegravir as alternative first-line HIV treatment late last year and Dominique Limet, ViiV’s chief executive, said the Botswana deal would now accelerate access to the drug.
“It will allow people living with HIV in Botswana to have access to dolutegravir as part of a national test and treat initiative, locally referred to as the ‘Treat All’ program,” he said.
The medicine is a so-called integrase inhibitor, which prevents viral DNA from integrating into the genetic material of human immune cells.