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Brazil to make AIDS drug after Merck talks fail

September 18, 2008
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Brazil''s health minister says Latin America''s biggest country will produce an inexpensive generic version of an AIDS drug made by Merck & Co., according to the Associated Press. Production should begin in the first half of 2009. Last year, the Brazilian government rejected Merck''s offer to sell the drug at a 30 percent discount -- for $1.10 per pill, down from $1.57. The country was seeking to purchase the drug at $0.65 per pill, the same price Thailand pays. In May of 2007, Brazil bypassed the patent on efavirenz when the government issued a "compulsory license," a legal mechanism that allows a country to manufacture or buy generic versions of patented drugs while paying the patent holder only a small royalty.

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