Today Novartis announced the delivery of the 250,000,000th treatment of Coartem, a highly-effective artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for the treatment of malaria, with cure rates of more than 95%. To mark this occasion, Dr Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis, delivered the milestone dose to Mwananyamala District Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Reinforcing Novartis’ long-term commitment to patients in the developing world, Dr Vasella also announced that Novartis is the first healthcare company to join United Against Malaria (UAM), a consortium that strives to raise awareness of malaria and achieve the shared goal of ending malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.
Preventable and curable, malaria remains a devastating disease infecting more than 250 million people each year and causing an estimated 880,000 deaths. Its toll is heaviest among young children in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is estimated that a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds.
“With 250 million treatments provided and an estimated 630,000 lives saved, the Novartis Malaria Initiative is the industry’s largest access-to-medicines program in the developing world,” said Dr Vasella. “However, malaria demands a collaborative approach. Joining United Against Malaria in its campaign is a promising way to relieve unnecessary suffering due to malaria.”
Novartis is the first healthcare company to join UAM, whose founding partners include Comic Relief, Johns Hopkins University, Malaria No More, the ONE Campaign, PATH, Population Services International, Roll Back Malaria and the United Nations Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Aiming to raise awareness and renew worldwide commitment to ending malaria, UAM will stage several high-profile public events in late 2009 and 2010 leading up to next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
“Novartis is a major player in the global effort to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015,” said Scott Case, CEO of Malaria No More and a United Against Malaria partner. “We congratulate Novartis on this remarkable achievement and welcome Novartis to the United Against Malaria team. This invaluable partnership shows how teamwork is vital in the race to save lives.”
Coartem is a highly-effective three-day malaria treatment with cure rates of more than 95%, even in areas of multi-drug resistance. It is approved for use in over 80 countries worldwide. In January 2009, Novartis and Medicines for Malaria Venture introduced Coartem Dispersible, a new child-friendly formulation. Sweet-tasting and easily dispersed in water, Coartem Dispersible eases administration and enables accurate dosing for children, the most vulnerable group of malaria patients.