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A state-of-the art HIV pill containing Dolutegravir, already widely used in rich countries, is set to become more quickly available at an affordable price in SA, thanks to an agreement announced by UNAIDS in New York on Thursday night. The deal guarantees a maximum price of $75 per person per year for three-in-one pills containing Dolutegravir, Tenofovir and Lamivudine, made by pharmaceutical companies Mylan and Aurobindo under licence from Viiv Healthcare. The development is important because it increases competition for SA’s next AIDS drug tender and is expected to help push down the cost of HIV treatment. It is also good news for patients, as recent research has shown Dolutegravir is more effective and better tolerated than antiretrovirals such as Efavirenz and Nevirapine. A working group established by the health department recently recommended switching patients to a once-daily fixed dose combination of Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir as first-line treatment, on both cli...

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