The drug being unveiled
Novartis Pharmaceuticals West Africa, a Swiss-based global pharmaceutical corporation, has unveiled one of its new improved malaria medications called ‘Coartem Riamet 80/480 Artemether/Lumefantrine’ onto the Ghanaian market.
The single tablet per dose Coartem, which is to be taken two times a day for three days, is aimed at increasing convenience for adults and children weighing 35kg and above with uncomplicated plasmodium falciparum malaria.
Recommended for malaria infections acquired in areas where multi-drug resistance is present, the drug containing 20 mg Artemether and 120 mg Lumefantrine or 80 mg Artemether and 480 mg Lumefantrine, is for oral administration.
The new Coartem is not indicated for prophylactic use and not recommended for severe malaria.
It is also not to be administered with other antimalarials unless no other treatment option.
The Country Manager of Novartis Anglophone West Africa, Vera Nwanze, in a speech at the launch of the product at the Alisa Hotel on Wednesday in Accra, disclosed that the drug, said to be the first ACT to be approved by the US Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was reduced from four tablets per dose to one in order to increase convenience for patients and ensure the compliance of their therapy.
According to her, many patients were finding it hard to continue their treatment due to the fact that they had to take too many pills per dose on a daily basis.
Vera Nwanze indicated that Coartem 80/480 had received the WHO pre-qualification and has been duly approved in Ghana by the FDA.
Commenting on Novartis fight against malaria around the world over the last decade, she stated that ‘we are committed that malaria is completely eradicated from Africa and the world at large.’
Ms Nwanze observed that malaria continues to be a global health issue with over 200 million cases being recorded in 2012.
‘On the average, one million people die from malaria annually and 80 percent of the deaths occur among children,’ she disclosed.
Meanwhile, James Frimpong in a presentation titled: ‘Malaria Landscape in Ghana’ disclosed that the country is targeting a 75 percent reduction in malaria morbidity and mortality burden by 2020.’
To achieve this, he added that there was the need for stakeholders to scale up and intensify proven malaria control interventions in a sustainable manner.
The production of Coartem began in 1994 and was brought onto the market in 1997. Up to date, over 600 million dosage of the drug had been produced and distributed worldwide.
BY Melvin Tarlue
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