AIDS Drug Mix-up by Major S.African Pharma Company

by Tanya Thomas on Aug 9 2008 12:56 PM

A major pharmaceutical company in South Africa, which has the world's highest HIV rate, on Friday issued a recall of generic anti-retroviral drugs due to a packaging error.

"Adco-Nevirapine tablets, with the batch number 1J, and expiry January 2009, and Adco-Zidovudine tablets, batch number 1Z and expiry date November 2008 should be returned without delay," the company said in a statement.

The recall is a result of improper labelling, with certain Adco-Nevirapine tablets packed in Adco-Zidovudine cartons.

The company recently won a 663 million rand (86 million dollar, 57 million euro) government contract to supply the life-saving AIDS drugs to public hospitals.

The company would not say how many of the drugs had already been distributed.

"Adcock Ingram is committed to the quality, safety and efficacy of its products and deeply regrets the error," said a statement.

The firm and its parent company, Tiger Brands, have previously faced hefty fines by the Competition Commission.

Early this year, Adcock Ingram's Critical Care division was slapped with a 53.5 million rand for price fixing.

South Africa has the world's highest rate of HIV with some 5.5 million of the 47 million population affected by the virus.

Tiger Brands is one of the few local companies competing for drug distribution.