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Local Production and Equitable Distribution of Drugs Will Speed Up Efforts to Eliminate Malaria

A Kenyan pharmaceutical company, Universal Corporation Limited, has become the first manufacturer in Africa to receive World Health Organization (WHO) approval to produce a lifesaving malaria drug. The antimalarial drug, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine (Spaq), is frequently used to prevent seasonal malaria in children during months of peak transmission periods such as rainy seasons. Previously, demand for drugs such as Spaq in Africa has been met through the importation of generic versions of the medicine from India and China. Approval from WHO, indicating that a company’s manufacturing processes and quality control meet international standards, can make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to enter new markets and attract the biggest buyers of such treatments, including large donor-driven organisations.