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A new HIV treatment that is expected to save the government more than $900m over the next five years has been held up again, this time over delays in finalising the next three-year contract with suppliers. The health department’s plan to switch HIV patients to a cheaper and more effective three-drug combination pill containing dolutegravir, lamivudine and tenofovir is a vital part of its strategy for increasing the number of state patients from 4.2-million to more than 6-million by 2020-21. It originally hoped to begin rolling out the new regimen in September 2018, but hit its first stumbling block when concerns over the safety of dolutegravir led to delays in registering the drug with the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority. It then pushed the implementation date to April 2019, and expected the Treasury to announce which drug manufacturers had won the supply contracts for all the AIDS drugs it provides to state patients by early December. On Wednesday it emerged that most — but...

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