The government had awarded Cipla Medpro a R345 million share in the national respiratory tender as South Africa sought to cut high asthma mortality rates, the company said yesterday. “In South Africa, asthma is the third most common cause of hospital admissions of children, yet only 2 percent receive treatment,” the chief executive, Paul Miller, said. South Africa has the world’s fourth highest asthma death rate among people aged five to 35, with thousands dying each year from a disease that causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, according to the Global Initiative for Asthma. Under the contract, which starts on July 1 and runs to April 30, 2017, the third-largest local drug maker will provide asthma medication to state facilities. – Reuters