Life-saving antimalarial to be delivered to malaria-endemic countries
Today, Cipla Ltd, a global pharmaceutical company, and MMV announce the launch of 100 mg Artesunate Rectocaps/Rectal Artesunate Suppositories (RAS), a life-saving, pre-referral intervention for the management of severe malaria in young children.
Initially developed by TDR, the WHO-hosted Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, RAS 100 mg manufactured by Cipla was recently added to the Global Fund Expert Review Panel’s list of quality-assured medicines, while the process of WHO prequalification of this medicine moves through its final stages. This authorization makes it the first quality-assured RAS product.
RAS is a critical intervention in the initial management of severe malaria in children who cannot take oral medications. It buys time while severely ill children are transported to health facilities where they can receive parenteral treatment. The WHO recommends RAS to prevent fatal complications of malaria in children. Sixteen countries have already included it in their treatment guidelines.
Umang Vohra, MD and Global CEO Cipla Ltd. said, “Cipla is committed to providing access to affordable medicines. Our endeavour is to make RAS 100 mg available in rural areas in Africa and to national community health programmes, notably with the support of international donors that have already pledged to procure Rectal Artesunate.”
“MMV welcomes this excellent news,” said Dr David Reddy, MMV’s CEO. “RAS is a life-saving intervention. With the launch of Cipla’s product, the first to be quality-assured, more malaria-endemic countries will now be able to provide it to more of their children. We are proud to have worked with Cipla in its quest to ensure universal access to high quality and affordable treatments, especially for vulnerable young populations suffering from severe malaria.”
Cipla’s RAS product contains 100 mg of Artesunate and is indicated in children from 6 months to 6 years. It was developed with the support of MMV (with UNITAID financing) and will now soon be available in four sub-Saharan countries.