* Aspen warded 20 percent of contract
* Adcock Ingram gets 14 percent
JOHANNESBURG Nov 29 South Africa on Thursday
awarded a $667 million contract to supply life-prolonging HIV
medicine to 12 international and domestic firms, to deal with
its biggest health problem.
Companies that include Aspen Pharmacare, Abbott
Laboratories and Adcock Ingram would share the
contract, the health department said.
The 5.9 billion rand ($667 million) contract, effective from
April next year, aims to increase the number of people on
treatment by nearly 50 percent, to 2.5 million next year.
South Africa has nearly 6 million people infected with HIV
-- one of the heaviest caseloads in the world. It also has one
of largest treatment programmes.
But drug makers are unlikely to rake in big profits from the
government award, analysts have ssaid, given the stiff
competition in the bidding.
The health department said it saved 2.2 billion rand on the
new contract, which it initially expected it would cost 8.1
Aspen Pharmacare, the country's biggest generic drugs maker,
was awarded 20 percent of the contract while its closest
domestic rival, Adcock Ingram was given 14 percent, the health
Other contracts winners included Chicago-based Abbott
Laboratories with 8.1 percent, and domestic firm Cipla Medpro
with 9 percent.