Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 30, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:34 pm

Free AIDS drug therapy next year

All those infected with HIV will be given free life-prolonging drugs next year, as soon as the drugs can be locally produced.
This puts Malaysia among the few countries in the world to provide the drugs, used in the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), for free.
The drugs are already free for a limited number of HIV-infected people, among them mothers and babies, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Currently, the three generic drugs cost from about RM290 to RM525 a month. Making the drugs here will reduce the cost to less than RM200 a month, he said.
Fully subsidising the drugs would cost the Government between RM15 million and RM26 million a year.
“We are currently waiting for the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to approve the matter before we can proceed to produce the three drugs locally,” Chua said.
It is a sign the Government was “serious in fighting this epidemic”, he said.
“There are 20 new cases of HIV cases reported daily of which three are confirmed cases of AIDS, while two people die of the disease on a daily basis,” he said Malaysian AIDS Council president Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir said the move meant the country was “very much in the forefront” of the global battle against HIV/AIDS.
Some 58,000 Malaysians are infected with HIV. Of these, 6,545 have died of full-blown AIDS, Chua said today.
Some 1,500 HIV sufferers currently get the HAART free. Aside from mothers and babies, it extends to those infected through tainted blood or blood products, health workers infected through occupational exposure, and Government servants.
Chua estimated that next year, another 4,000 people will be infected with HIV.
In 2003 alone, 6,756 cases were detected. Three-quarters of these were aged between 13 and 39 years. Some 869 of these sufferers have died. Eighty per cent of them contract AIDS through intravenous drug use, and 13 per cent by heterosexual transmission.
Roughly 0.7 per cent were due to mother to child transmission.
“Since we started HIV screening at our antenatal clinics in 1998, almost 1.8 million mothers have been screened whereby 619 mothers were found infected with the disease up to the end of last year, ” he said.

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