The Department of Health plans to extend the current AIDS drug tender to ensure that pharmaceutical manufacturers are ready to compete on supplying the new "wonder drug" dolutegravir, a cheaper and safer alternative to one of the components currently used in the three-drug cocktail provided by state institutions to most HIV patients. The current tender, valued at R14bn when it was announced in January 2015, was originally slated to end next March. Bids for the new tender will be called for once a sufficient number of generic dolutegravir products are registered with the Medicines Control Council (MCC) to ensure vigorous competition, the department’s deputy director-general for regulation and compliance Anban Pillay told a joint sitting of Parliament’s portfolio committees on economic development and health on Wednesday. "It will be significant for patients and save us money," he said. The drug has already been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25-million have th...

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