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The health department expects to announce the results of its next Aids drug tender in the first week of December, a senior official said on Monday. The tender is a vital step in switching state patients to a dolutegravir-based regimen, which will provide a cheaper and more effective alternative to the three-drug cocktail currently taken by most state patients. “We think we can save $900m over five years,” said the health department’s Yogan Pillay, emphasising this was an estimate affected by many variables. The planned switch is an important aspect of the government’s plans to expand HIV treatment to more patients, in line with its commitment to start patients on treatment as soon as they are diagnosed. SA has the world’s worst HIV epidemic and had an estimated 7.2-million people living with the disease in 2017, according to UNAIDS. It also has the world’s biggest treatment programme, which reaches over 4-million state patients.

Six companies had registered generic three-in-on...

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