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Friday, March 2nd 2007

Malaria Treatment On The Cheap

As if the 99-Cent Store got into the pharm business…only better quality. A cheap malaria drug draws praise,

The medicine, called ASAQ, is a pill combining artemisinin, invented in China using sweet wormwood and hailed as a miracle malaria drug, with amodiaquine, an older drug that still works in many malarial areas.

A treatment will cost less than $1 for adults and less than 50 cents for children. Adults with malaria will take only two pills a day for three days, and the pill will come in three smaller once-a- day sizes for babies, toddlers and children.

ACT therapy is gold nowadays, so I’m not sure the pill itself is a marvel. No, this is newsworthy for the fifty-cents per treatment. Impressive.

Unfortunately, costs, such as for (former) first line drug Chloroquine, isn’t the problem. It is resistance (and where there’s resistance to chloroquine there’s likely to be resistance to amodiaquine). Still, this is a very noble thing,

Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fourth- largest drug company, which is based in Paris, will sell the pill at cost to international health agencies like the World Health Organization, Unicef and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The article goes on to talk about the relationship between Sanofi-Aventis & Doctors Without Borders (whose initiative prompted the cheap drug development), having it described as “not a love wedding” but a “reasonable wedding.”