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Pharma cos to phase out oral malaria drugs
May 12, 2006 12:52 IST
Thirteen pharmaceutical companies have agreed to comply with the World Health Organization recommendation to phase out single-drug artemisinin medicines for oral treatment of malaria as its use hastens the development of resistance to the drug in malaria parasites.
The companies will now focus their marketing efforts for malaria, primarily on Artemisinin Combination Therapies, in line with WHO recommendations because when used with other anti-malarial drugs artemesin is nearly 95 per cent effective in curing uncomplicated malaria and the parasite is highly unlikely to become drug resistant.
"In the last three months, we have seen significant progress towards curbing the supply of inappropriate and clinically unsound malaria treatments," said Dr Lee Jong-wook, WHO Director-General.
"WHO now calls for a complete transition to provision of WHO-recommended combination therapies, in order to preserve the efficacy of these life-saving treatments."
In January, WHO appealed to all companies to stop marketing single-drug artemisin treatment, or monotherapy, and to re-direct their production efforts towards ACTs. Following this appeal, 23 companies were identified and informed of the recommendation and 13 said they would comply with guidelines.
The companies have also said they are willing to collaborate with WHO on this and the agency has called on national drug regulatory authorities in malaria-endemic countries to prohibit marketing of oral artemisinin mono-therapies.
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