Ipca Laboratories Ltd says it is stopping the manufacturing of monotherapies or single ingredient oral artemisinin derivatives. Instead it has introduced a fixed dose combination of oral artemether and lumefantrine tablets (under the brand Lumerax), which is the first ACT, marketed in India.
IPCA says the decision was taken in response to an appeal by Dr Kochi Arata, director Global Malaria Programme, WHO, to manufacturers to promote combination therapies. Over the years new malarial parasite strains, immune to single-dose therapies, have been detected, making the treatment of certain malarial infections difficult.
The company says artemisinin and its derivatives remain the only hope in near future for managing rising incidence of P falciparum malaria. To preserve these life saving medicines, WHO has requested all organisations to stop manufacturing and marketing monotherapies consisting of single ingredient oral Artemisinin derivatives.
WHO has emphasised artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), which includes giving oral artemisinin derivatives in combination with drugs such as lumefantrine, sulphadoxine, pyrimethamine, amodiaquine and piperaquine.
Giving Artemisinin derivatives in combination with these drugs will prolong the usefulness of these life saving drugs, the company stated in a communique.