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First local firm supplies anti-HIV drug at low price

VietNamNet Bridge –  Vietnam's ICA Biotechnological - Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Co., or ICA in short, on Tuesday supplied nearly one million Lamivudin 150mg tablets to the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases.

The drug will be distributed to nearly 30 anti-HIV centers nationwide for the treatment with reasonable prices.With the move, ICA has become the first local drug maker to supply such medication besides two European pharmaceutical companies.The retail price of Lamivudin 150mg is VND87,000 a box of 60 tablets, 30% cheaper than other drugs on the market. Thus, it will cost an HIV carrier only VND1mil a year using the drug, according to the company.

In its plan for 2007-09, ICA will invest 20% of its pre-tax profits to buy foreign patents to manufacture drugs at its plant in Vietnam and to develop other drugs till 2010. Part of the budget will be used to purchase manufacturing technology of new anti-HIV products.

ICA invested US$12mil to build a plant at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in 1999.The company has cooperated with medical centers in HCMC such as Cho Ray Hospital, the Medical Center of the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and the Heart Institute among others to carry out clinical trials to prove the safety and efficacy of its products.These include antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-diabetic products and drugs for hepatic diseases tested on Vietnamese patients with the aim to supply them to the hospital and insurance systems nationwide at reasonable prices.

Late this March, ICA Pharmaceuticals, its former name, increased its chartered capital. About 59% of its shares belong to the inventors, while ICA's employees and three foreign pharmaceutical companies hold 11%, and international and local funds and enterprises make up 20%. The rest will be sold to the public at an IPO this August when ICA increases its chartered capital to VND200bil.

ICA will seek to list its shares on the HCMC Securities Trading Center, hiring Ernst & Young as its finance auditor and the Saigon Securities Inc. as its consultant for listing.

(Source: SGT)

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