07 November 2011

Asthma meds unaffordable

It costs the average South African three days' wages for a month's supply of branded asthma medicine, and one day's wage for the generic brand.


It costs the average South African three days' wages for a month's supply of branded asthma medicine, and one day's wage for the generic brand. This is according to The Global Asthma Report 2011 compiled by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Through research stretching over 20-year study, ISAAC (the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) studied various aspects of asthma around the world, particularly highlighting the burden of asthma in the developing world.  

Among other topics, the report looked at the pricing and affordability of three essential asthma medicines in the developing world. The country worst affected by high pricing is Madagascar, where 100µg of generic Beclometasone (around one month's supply) costs nearly 14 days' wages. In El Salvador, only the branded type is available, and cost the equivalent of 12 days' wages, and in Cambodia the same product costs the same as 10 days wages.

These statistics highlight the plight of asthma patients in the developing world. Because although effective treatment for asthma exist, many people, especially in low- and middle-income countries, are unable to access the medicines they need to manage this chronic condition.

Asthma in children

An asthma centre in Cape Town that formed part of the ISAAC-study, reported some of the highest burdens of asthma symptoms in 13 to 14-year-old children in the world. And it is on the increase.

It used to be thought that asthma primarily affected people in high-income countries. However, by the 1980's, several research groups had become concerned about signs that asthma was increasing in high-income countries, and that it was possibly much more common in low-income countries that initially presumed.

The resulting 20-year international study has shown that childhood asthma is a common disease in both high-income and lower-income countries. It is relatively more severe and increasing in prevalence in many lower-income countries.

- (Health24, November 2011)

Source: The Global Asthma Report 2011

Read more:
Rural kids have more asthma


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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