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02 March 2007

New, cheaper malaria drug

A new, inexpensive, easy-to-take anti-malaria pill was introduced Thursday by French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis in partnership with Drugs for Neglected Diseases.

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A new, inexpensive, easy-to-take anti-malaria pill is being introduced Thursday by French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis in partnership with Drugs for Neglected Diseases, a campaign started by the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

Sanofi-Aventis will sell the drug, called ASAQ, at cost to international groups such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Treatment with the drug will cost less than $1 for adults and less than 50 cents for children, The New York Times reported.

Adults with malaria will take two ASAQ pills a day for three days. Three smaller-sized once-a-day pills will be given to children. ASAQ is a combination of artemisinin (a Chinese-invented malaria treatment that uses sweet wormwood) and an older malaria drug called amodiaquine.

There has been a demand for drug companies to stop making anti-malaria pills that contain artemisinin alone, because experts fear that using such drugs would lead to resistant strains of malaria, The Times reported.

"This is a good thing. They're responding to the kind of drug profile we've been promoting," said Dr Arata Kochi, chief of the WHO's global malaria programme. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
A-Z of Malaria
New drug vs. malaria on the way?

March 2007

 
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