17.02.2002 General News

Pharmacia Withdraws Metakelfin in White Sachets

17.02.2002 LISTEN

Pharmacia, the ninth largest pharmaceutical company in the world, has withdrawn its anti-malaria drug called Metakelfin in white sachets and replaced it with a new one in a silver foil pack.

The withdrawal of the single-dose malaria drug in the white sachets follows the detection of fake ones on the market in Ghana and Nigeria and East Africa.

Mr John Allotey, Pharmacia's Medical Representative for West and Southern Africa Regions, said the company was now producing the drug in only the silver foil and urged the public to insist on buying only that.

He was speaking during the presentation of 5,000 tablets of Metakelfin for the treatment of 2,500 malaria patients, which is valued at 18 million cedis to the Ghana Ports and Harbours (GPHA) Clinic at Tema on Friday.

Mr Allotey said the fake drugs, whose sources were unknown, have been found to contain paracetamol, powder and starch, adding, people cashed in to produce the fake ones because it had been found to be a good drug.

He said Metakelfin, like Chloroquine, clears 50 per cent of the malaria parasites on the first day, 98 per cent of on the second day and 100 per cent on the third day stayed in the system for 216 hours or nine days to fight any immediate introduction of parasites by mosquitoes.

It can also be used as a prophylaxis to prevent malaria and as a first and second line drug for the treatment of the disease but not recommended for people, who are highly sensitive to sulphur.

Mr Allotey said Pharmacia was much committed to the eradication of malaria, which kills 3,000 people each day with 90 per cent of the deaths occurring in Africa.

It is estimated that 25 per cent of children's death in Africa is due to malaria while pregnant mothers were four times likely to suffer malaria and two times more like to die from the disease than non-pregnant women.

Economic loss due to malaria was estimated at 12 billion US dollars in the year 2000.