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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Cheap malaria drug approved
Mosquitoes spread malaria
A cheap drug to combat malaria is to be launched by GlaxoSmithKline.

The drug could help to save millions of lives each year in some of the world's poorest countries.

According to GSK, a course of treatment with Lapdap will cost just 18 pence (29 US cents) for an adult and 9 pence for a child.

This is much cheaper than many existing drugs, some of which can cost as much as 33 per course.

Major killer

Malaria affects around 300 million people around the world each year.

Nine out of 10 cases occur in Africa. The disease claims the lives of at least one million people annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria treatment for use in Africa
Professor Peter Winstanley,
University of Liverpool
Many of these lives could be saved if more affordable drugs were available.

This latest drug, which combines two existing anti-malaria compounds, has been developed by GSK in collaboration with the WHO and scientists in the UK.

The $5m development costs were shared between GSK, the WHO and the UK Department for International Development.

Trials have shown that it is more effective than some existing treatments and can also help people who are resistant to some older drugs.

It has now been approved for use by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

GSK said the drug would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as soon as possible.

In a statement, the company said: "GlaxoSmithKline plans to make Lapdap available at preferential prices across sub-Saharan Africa as soon as local approval has been granted."

Professor Peter Winstanley, director of the Wellcome Trust Tropical Centre at the University of Liverpool which led the development work, welcomed the drug's approval.

"Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria treatment for use in Africa," he said.




SEE ALSO:
Malaria
08 Feb 03  |  Medical notes
Cheap anti-malaria drug 'closer'
26 Aug 02  |  Health


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