Aah, evil pharma: they’ve done good this time. From the WSJ:
March 1, 2007 6:30 a.m.
LONDON — The first affordable combination anti-malarial drug tailored for children will soon be available across Africa, potentially saving millions of lives, the nonprofit organization and the pharmaceuticals giant who worked to develop it said Thursday.
The new medication, known as ASAQ, combines two of the most effective drugs known to treat malaria, artesunate and amodiaquine. ASAQ is the result of a €16 million ($21.2 million), two-year project by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis. To make the drugs available where they are most needed, the new drug isn’t patented and will be available to anyone who wants to manufacture it.
“This drug will save lives,” said Dr. Bernard Pecoul, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. “The aim of this project was to develop a product as adapted as possible to the malaria situation in Africa.” The drug has already been registered in Morocco, and has been authorized in 10 other African countries.
ASAQ is cheaper than other currently available fixed-dose combinations, and will be available at-cost price to countries battling malaria, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The pills cost less than 50 cents for children, and less than $1 for older children and adults. Even at these relatively low costs, however, that may still be too expensive for Africa.