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AIDS drug negotiations – End date of program a worry

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Pfizer is in talks with the South African government over arrangements to provide a drug used for treating an AIDS-related brain infection, Bloomberg News reported July 20.

Pfizer has offered fluconazole, sold under the brand name Diflucan. The drug is used for cryptococcal meningitis, which is found in people with badly damaged immune systems.

The government has been criticized for not moving quickly enough to accept offers of reduced prices and donations of AIDS drugs.

The government says it often hasn’t been consulted before such offers are made. Some parts of the country, it says, don’t have medical facilities or clean water, without which complicated AIDS programs can’t work. The government is also concerned about its potential inability to treat patients after Pfizer’s offer runs out in 2002.

A Pfizer spokeswoman in Johannesburg told Bloomberg the negotiations were “encouraging,” and said the end-date for the program is open for discussion.

For full story, go to America Online.

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