Novartis delivers billion courses of antimalarial

NOVARTIS has delivered 1 billion courses of antimalarial treatment, including 430 million pediatric treatments, largely at no profit since 1999, with other innovations, the Novartis artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) contributed to reduce malaria deaths by nearly half over the same timeframe.
Novartis continues to invest in research and development for next-generation antimalarials to combat the threat of artemisinin resistance.
Novartis announced today that it has delivered one billion courses of antimalarial treatment since 1999.
More than 90 percent of this artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) was supplied without profit to malaria-endemic countries around the globe.
ACTs are the standard of care for the treatment of P. falciparum malaria, the most deadly form of the disease, responsible for over 99 percent of cases in Africa and half of cases in Asia.
Since the turn of the century, ACTs have transformed malaria treatment and contributed to the dramatic reduction in malaria deaths.
Working with Chinese partners, Novartis launched the first fixed-dose ACT (artemether-lumefantrine) in 1999.
Artemisinin is a natural compound found in the plant Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood, and has shown to clear malaria parasites in the blood.
ACTs combine an artemisinin derivative with a partner drug to reduce the risk of resistance if artemisinin is given alone.
Adoption of ACTs as first-line treatment by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been critical to the global malaria response.
Since 2000, the WHO estimates that 1.5 billion malaria cases have been averted and 7.6 million lives saved.
Along with malaria prevention tools and better diagnostics, ACTs remain a key component of the global drive to reach malaria elimination.
In 2001, two years after the launch of its ACT, Novartis signed an agreement with the WHO, committing to make the antimalarial available without profit to the public sector of malaria-endemic countries.
Although the agreement expired in 2011, Novartis continues to provide treatments on the same terms as before.
“This is a landmark moment in the fight against malaria. Over the last 20 years, Novartis has delivered one billion treatments in more than 70 countries,” said Dr Lutz Hegemann, group head, corporate affairs and global health, Novartis. “We could not have achieved this milestone without the support of our global partners and those we work with on the ground in endemic countries.”