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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July 2005, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Thailand to get cheap Aids drugs
By Tony Cheng
BBC, Bangkok

The one-pill treatment is available from October
Thailand has announced it will offer anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV/Aids to all infected Thais, at virtually no cost to the patient.

The drugs will be available on the government's 30 baht healthcare scheme, with treatments costing just under $1.

There are estimated to be approximately 500,000 HIV-positive people in Thailand.

The Thai government has pioneered the production of cheap generic drugs to combat HIV/Aids.

The drugs have already been made available under pilot schemes to some low-income groups, but now they will be available to all who need them.

In the past, the complicated cocktail of drugs used in treatments had been too expensive to distribute widely.

But by combining a combination of those drugs in one pill, the Thai government's Pharmaceutical Organisation has managed to produce a cheap treatment for HIV/Aids which can be easily prescribed and monitored.

The one-pill treatment, based on the generic drug GPO/VIR, becomes available on the government's subsidised healthcare scheme in October.

Thailand has already started to export its anti-retroviral drugs to neighbouring countries like Cambodia, and the government is currently considering offering the technology to several African nations.

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