M a r k e t N e w s

Pharmaceutical firm launches new anti malaria drug formulation in Kenyan market

Posted on : Wednesday, 19th November 2014

A Global Pharmaceutical firm on Friday launched a new anti malaria drug formulation into the Kenyan market that is aimed at increasing adherence to the medication.

"Malaria patients now only have to take one tablet per dose compared to the four tablets previously," Novartis Pharma Services Manager for Africa Operations Nathan Mulure said in Nairobi.

Novartis said that the new formulation has already been launched in Nigeria and Angola and will soon be launched in Uganda and Ghana.

Novartis Pharma is the manufacturer of the antimalarial drug popularly known as Coartem.

Coartem has demonstrated consistently high cure rates of over 95 percent in trials conducted in malaria-endemic areas.

Kenya is one of the first countries to change malaria treatment policy to Artemisinin based combination therapies (ACTs) Since 2004, Kenya has received over 75 million treatments of the drug.

The firm has also launched a child friendly paediatric formulation tablet in 2009 after the successful completion of clinical trials and subsequent registration in Europe and Africa.

Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance, Senior Clinical Trialists Dr Bernhards Ogutu said about 15 per cent of all drugs in circulation worldwide are believed to be counterfeit.

"The figure could be as high as 50 percent in some parts of Africa," Ogutu said.

The ministry of health routinely conducts post market surveillance studies on the quality and safety of anti malarials circulating in the market.

"However, a recent study done in Kenya found that 99 per cent of the anti malarials sampled complied with quality standards as defined by local standards and those of World Health Organization (WHO)," he said.

He noted that poor quality of anti-malarials contributed to the resurgence of malaria in the 1970-80s. Currently all antimalarials must be prequalified by the WHO before public procurement.

He said that Kenya and Tanzania is in the process of setting up a Bioequivalent medical centre in order to strengthen vigilance against pharmaceutical counterfeits.

University of Nairobi Head of Department of Clinical Medicine Professor Kirana Bhatt said the cost of discovering and bringing new antimalarial drug to market is approximately 500 million U.S. dollars.

"However, there is little economic incentive for investment in new drug discovery as malaria affects world’s poorest nations," Bhatt said.

In 2002, the WHO recommended that countries experiencing resistance to current first-line single drug therapy change to combination therapy.

She noted that ACT has an advantage due to its rapid parasite clearance.

Source : coastweek.com
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