ARTICLE: MORE SUBSIDIES REQUIRED FOR COST OF ANTI-MALARIAL TREATMENTS
Subsidies for the cost of artemisinin combination treatments (ACTs) are required immediately in order to prevent the emergence of a malaria superbug, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs. In many malaria-prone countries, ACTs -- which have been shown to avert multi-drug-resistant forms of the disease by combining artemisinin with other medications -- are largely unaffordable, claims the study.
"Our results indicate that a subsidy is needed sooner rather than later because cost and availability issues are prompting people in malaria-endemic countries to misuse artemisinin as monotherapy," commented Ramanan Laxminarayan, lead author of the study and fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Resources for the Future. "This is likely to speed up development of resistance."
The study recommends that subsidies should be used to make combination treatments available as monotherapies -- single drugs -- and to assure that at least two varieties of ACTs are widely obtainable. An immediate subsidy of up to $1 per dose for two different types of ACT, says the study, could reduce patient costs by up to 30 cents per dose. This, in turn, would permit thousands of additional malaria patients to receive affordable treatment.