Thursday, September 18, 2008

Growing Market for Malaria Drugs

Want to dig deeper into the decision by the US Food and Drug Administration to grant priority review for Co-Artem, the incredibly effective anti-malaria drug from Novartis. Will that allow the Swiss pharmaceutical company to expand its global market share--and if so, by how much?

It's obvious Novartis is NOT looking for a big boost from the US domestic market since only 1200 people (most of them returning travellers) are treated for malaria in the US each year.

Co-Artem is already available in countries covered by the US President's Malaria Initiative, primarily through multi-million dollar contracts with UNICEF. And there's plenty more flowing through Global Fund contracts.

So what is the advantage of going for FDA approval? I am not suggesting anything nefarious. I saw Co-Artem save lives firsthand while I was in Malawi the past three months. I just want to understand the business case.

NB: For a great article explaining how difficult it is to estimate how many people suffer from from malaria each year, check out Laura Blue's piece at

1 comment:

Jessica Pickett said...

Developing country drug registration systems are a mess, and so FDA approval can often speed up the process. It also makes it easier to receive approval for funding from the Global Fund and other international donors, although I can't imagine that's been a particularly large hurdle for Coartem.