Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

China’s anti-malaria medicine producers face market collapse

20.12.2007
Just three years ago, a global shortage of the anti-malaria medicine artemisinin alarmed medics fighting the killer disease, and spurred scientists who are developing alternative sources of the drug.

Yet a glut of the compound has now saturated the market to such a degree that prices have plummeted, forcing Chinese drug manufacturers out of business.

Artemisinin is extracted from the sweet wormwood plant Artemisia annua, and China is home to 80–90 per cent of the world’s supply. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Novartis have worked together since 2001 to channel much of that medicine into Africa.

But the sudden increase in demand for artemisinin caused a serious shortage, triggering a massive price rise that peaked at 8000 yuan (£537) per kilogram of artemisinin in 2005. To capitalise on this, the number of Chinese artemisinin producers rose from three in 2004 to more than 80 in 2007.

... more about:
»Artemisinin »Who »anti-malaria »producers

China’s annual supply of artemisinin now stands at about 150 tonnes per year – roughly six times what Novartis and the WHO are prepared to buy annually. The resulting surplus has caused the market price of artemisinin to plummet to around 1600 yuan (£107) per kilogram, and the crash has already forced some artemisinin producers out of business.

Novartis points out that it is not responsible for the business crisis. ‘We have repeatedly warned Chinese suppliers that the African anti-malaria market is very small due to their low consumption capacity,’ explained a spokesperson for Novartis China. They added that the WHO is unlikely to buy more artemisinin without an increase in funding for their malaria campaign.

Crucially, the Chinese surplus is still not reaching patients in Africa. Only one Chinese firm – Guangxi-based Guilin Pharmaceutical – has obtained WHO approval (in August 2007) to sell artemisinin in Africa, as part of a combination therapy with another drug.

Chinese market analysts blame the Chinese drug regulator for issuing licenses to produce artemisinin too easily, and for failing to close down unauthorised producers. ‘Local governments should be blamed as well,’ Zhou Chengming, president of Beijing-based Shizhen Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Group told Chemistry World. ‘They have exaggerated artemisinin as the great hope for Chinese pharmaceuticals to go abroad.’

The full text of this Chemistry World story is at:

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2007/December/19120701.asp

Brian Emsley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.chemistryworld.org
http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2007/December/19120701.asp

Further reports about: Artemisinin Who anti-malaria producers

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>