E-DRUG: Shortage of ACT therapies against malaria
[E-drug does not normally circulate messages from commercial companies.
However, in the interest of a wider discussion on availability of
artemisinine-combinations for malaria, this message of DAFRA is posted.
Please note that DAFRA products have not been pre-qualified by WHO or
registered in Europe as far as we know. Non-registered drugs can be exported
from Europe without regulatory controls. Apparently some of its products are
registered in developing countries.
Spelling errors in message below were corrected. Wilbert Bannenberg, E-drug
In recent documents and press communications (WHO September 2004) information
is given that Novartis and WHO/RBM are not capable of fulfilling their promises
towards African countries to ship the ACT Coartem (fixed dose combination of
artemether and lumefantrine in tablets) in adequate quantities. They announce a
great shortage of product and they blame the absolute worldwide shortage of
artemisinin for it.
To others active in this field, this appears an exaggeration and only the
result of bad planning at the side of Novartis and RBM. When the shortage for
Novartis became obvious in the course of 2004, this company has done the utmost
to correct their position and they tried to buy any quantity of artemisia annua
or of artemisinin in China and Vietnam. This caused a hectic market and a
regrettable price spiral upwards. As a result Artesunate and Artemether prices
have gone up by a factor 2 to 3.
This is certainly not to the advantage of the African governments who have to
rely on money of Global Fund for their purchases of ACT's. Novartis is directly
responsible for the rise in price of ACT's everywhere and it will also affect
price. Whether Novartis will increase its transfer price at "cost price" for
Coartem as is stipulated in the arrangement with WHO, is not clear.
However, in 2003 and 2004 other companies have taken precautions and are still
in a position to deliver ACT therapies to those countries interested.
Dafra Pharma is in a position to deliver, before the new harvest of artemisia
annua in August 2005, 6 (six) million treatments of artesunate co-blistered
with either Amodiaquine or SP (fansidar type) or SMP (sulfalene type).
Parties interested should contact Dafra Pharma nv at the following address:
Dafra Pharma nv
148 Steenweg op Mol