The Pharmaceutical company Novartis has launched a new high quality antimalarial formulation of Coartem in Nairobi, Kenya for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in adults and older children.
The new antimalarial drug referred to as Coartem 80mg/480mg was launched today and will be administered on patients weighing above 35 kilo grams.
According to a statement released to ZANIS by Novartis in Lusaka today, Kenya becomes the third country in Africa to launch Coartem 80mg/480mg with Nigeria and Angola having already launched the product.
The drug has been registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons board in Kenya and other countries that have registered it include Uganda and Ghana.
In a bid to enhance patient compliance, the full course of treatment for malaria has been reduced from 24 tablets to six tablets translating into a 75 percent reduction in pill burden.
Novartis Medical Manager for Africa Nathan Mulure reaffirmed his company’s strong commitment to the fight against malaria.
Dr. Mulure noted that Malaria is highly preventable and curable, but lamented that the disease still remains one of the most deadly in developing countries.
He said the launch of the new drug in Kenya is a truly remarkable milestone contributing to treating many patients and help in the reduction of the disease burden.
“The launch of Coartem® 80/480 in Kenya marks another milestone in the fight against Malaria, and will benefit patients with a convenient and high quality treatment for malaria,” he said.
Dr. Mulure said through a partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001, Novartis was the first company in the healthcare industry to commit to the supply of antimalarial treatments to the public sector in endemic countries without profit.
But when contacted for a comment, Ministry of Health Spokesperson Kamoto Mbewe could however not confirm whether the new Coartem formulation is earmarked to be launched in Zambia, which also uses the drug for the treatment of Malaria.
Dr. Mbewe said he would only be able to give a clear position on the matter after consulting drug experts at Medical Stores.
More than one million malaria-related deaths around the world are recorded annually.
Nine out of ten malaria deaths occur in sub Saharan Africa and the vast majority of malaria-related deaths occur in children while in Africa alone, a child dies every 60 seconds from malaria.