updated 9/20/2005 2:20:58 PM ET 2005-09-20T18:20:58

The FDA has approved the first generic versions of the AIDS medication AZT, a move that could reduce the expense for people in the United States being treated for the disease.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

AZT, an anti-retroviral drug that is also known as Zidovudine, helps prevent the AIDS virus from reproducing in the body. It is often used in combination with other medications to treat an HIV infection.

Generic versions of the drug have previously been unavailable in the United States because patent or market exclusivity restrictions prevented them from being marketed.

Now that those patents have expired, versions of drug manufactured by Roxane Laboratories of Columbus, Ohio; Ranbaxy Laboratories of Guragon, India, and Aurobindo Pharma of Hyderabad, India, can go on the market.

The original, sold under the name Retrovir, is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. The Food and Drug Administration first approved Retrovir in 1987. A 300-milligram tablet can cost $7.

“These approvals will now allow those infected with HIV more access to these life-saving drugs within our country,” said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments