President Hugo Chavez has launched a state-funded factory to provide inexpensive medicines for Venezuela's healthcare system. The Caracas-based plant is the first in a new manufacturing complex aimed at relaunching the nation's Autonomous Service of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, SEFAR, a social-security sponsored program. The revamped facility, originally built in 1993, cost around $10 million to modernize and is equipped to produce insulin, antibiotics and therapies for tropical diseases, including malaria and Chagas. Venezuela will initially provide these subsidized drugs locally and eventually also export to members of the Bolivarian Alternative for America (ALBA), an organization that includes Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Other compounds such as anticancer drugs (e.g., gefitinib) and antiretrovirals (e.g., efavirenz, zidovudine, lamivudine) are in the pipeline. Insulin from SEFAR is expected to reach as many as 50 million people. Venezuela—a market worth an estimated $3.6 billion—currently imports roughly 77% of its medicines, 55% of which are generics. Rosa Maria Morales, associate professor of economy and biotechnology at the University of Carabobo, notes that Venezuela provides free access to drugs through the Institute of Social Security (IVSS), but given the economic crisis, the scheme has become hard to sustain. On intellectual property issues related to SEFAR, Morales notes, “The Venezuelan Constitution protects intellectual property rights and so does the Law of Industrial Property.”