Monday, July 14, 2014

Norvatis launches new coartem for malaria

By Meluse Kapatamoyo

Malaria accounts for more than one million deaths around the world each year. In Africa alone, it is estimated that a child dies every 60 seconds from malaria. Nine out of 10 of these deaths occur in sub Saharan Africa where the vast majority of malaria-related deaths take place in children.

To address the ever growing cases of malaria, Norvatis has launched a new anti-malarial drug, Coartem® 80/480 (artemether/lumefantrine 80 mg/480 mg), for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in adults and older children who weigh above 35kg or above 12 years old.

Models pose during unveiling of  Coatem 80/480
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% reduction in pill burden.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Norvatis provides innovative healthcare solutions that addresses the evolving needs of patients and societies. 

According to a statement from Norvatis, the drug has been registered by the Pharmacy and poisons board in Kenya and has already been launched in Nigeria and Angola. Kenya is the 3rd country in Africa to launch Coartem 80/480. Other countries that have registered Coartem 80/480 include Uganda and Ghana.

The Coartem 80/480 was first registered in Switzerland by a stringent health authority, the Swiss Medic. Since 2006, Kenya has received over 75 million treatments of Coartem, making it one of the largest recipients of the drug.

Dr Nathan Mulure/Photo courtesy of Novartis
Dr. Nathan Mulure, the Novartis Medical Manager for Africa said, “Malaria is highly preventable and curable, yet it is still one of the most deadly diseases in developing countries. The fewer tablets offer a convenient solution for busy lives. 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.” 

Novartis is the first company to develop a World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalified child friendly medication, the Coartem Dispersible.  Dispersible tablets easily break up in water, are sweet and easy to take. Since 2009, over 200 million dispersible tablets have been delivered the vast majority to African countries.

Coartem is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ACT (a combination of two or more drugs one of which one is an Artemisinin derivative) in the United States of America and the first one to be approved by the European Medical Evaluating Agency (EMEA). Artemisinin is a compound derived from the sweet wormwood plant and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever.  Studies have shown that using two or more drugs in combination has the potential to delay the development of resistance.PYM

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