Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Life-saving drug not widely used in Africa - because its too cheap

30.09.2005


Low Cost Fails To Ensure The Availability Of Lifesaving Drug



A life-saving drug used to treat seriously-ill pregnant women in Africa is not widely available – in part because it’s too cheap. Magnesium sulphate is a low-cost but effective treatment for eclampsia and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. The disease, although relatively rare, claims the lives of more than 63,000 women a year, mostly in poorer countries and can also kill unborn children.

But researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), working with colleagues in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Norway, found that availability of the drug is patchy in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Writing in this week’s edition of the prestigious British Medical Journal, they said that part of the problem was that because the drug is cheap, pharmaceutical companies do not press for its registration with health authorities or market it widely as the profits to be made from it are small.


But the research team also noted that long delays in registration of drugs, clumsy health bureaucracies in both countries, as well as a lack of financial resources, had also contributed to the poor availability of the drug.

Eclampsia is a condition occurring during or immediately after pregnancy and involving fits which look similar to epilepsy attacks and can kill if not treated. It is associated with pre-eclampsia, with symptoms which may include high blood pressure and protein in the urine as well as intense headaches or visual disturbances. The growth of the unborn baby may also be affected.

But LSHTM researcher Simon Lewin said: “The drug’s low cost means that market forces cannot be relied on to ensure its availability in many places. As initiatives are developed to ensure wider access to expensive drugs critical to improving public health in Africa, low-cost and effective drugs should not be forgotten.”

It is estimated that eclampsia is responsible for more than 11 percent of maternal deaths in Mozambique alone. Public health lecturer Dr. Lewin said that ensuring the availability of effective drugs for priority health problems remained a key issue in Africa. He added: “Even where low-cost, effective treatments exist, drug availability for many common health problems remains poor in many places.”

“Governments, the World Health Organization, international professional organisations such as FIGO (the International Federation of Gynæcology and Obstetrics) and international donor agencies, should take a more active role in ensuring that all essential medicines are registered and available in developing countries.”

And he warned that a failure to address the problem would mean that meeting the Millennium Development Goals on health by the target date of 2015 would become even less likely.

Raymond Hainey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>