Citing lack of demand for generic anti-HIV medications, Indian drugmaker Cipla announced this week that the company will begin shifting its focus to the production of other generic medications. Cipla announced in February 2001 that it would begin producing and offering to developing countries a three-drug anti-HIV pill for less than $1 per person per day. The lack of demand for the medication since then is due both to efforts by the United States to derail a World Trade Organization plan that would allow developing nations to import generic versions of patented anti-HIV medications and the inability of very poor nations to afford even generic drugs. Cipla officials say that the company will focus on other medications until the WTO agreement is ratified.
"Unless the governments take part and there is guaranteed predictability [of demand], there is no incentive to produce and supply these drugs," said company chairman Y.K. Hamied.