Azad launches new anti malaria drug

Excelsior Correspondent
New Delhi, Apr 25: On World Malaria Day, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad launched the new Anti Malaria Drug “Synriam” developed by Ranbaxy in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology and aided by Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Malaria Research in partnerships with Medical Colleges and Hospitals in Odisha, Karnataka and Jharkhand, as the leading institute for planning and conducting the clinical studies in India.
Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chairman, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Dr. Tsutomu Une, and Secretary Health Research Dr V M Katoch were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Azad said “such drug discovery is an example of how effective public and private partnerships in research and development can help in overcoming our specific problems”. He disclosed that the drug has been indigenously developed by Ranbaxy Laboratories after completing all the clinical trials studies required to be conducted to establish safety and efficacy of the drug.
He said successfully developing “Synriam” is a milestone not only for an Indian drug manufacturing company but indeed for the entire pharmaceutical sector in the country.
“The fact that the drug can be chemically synthesized and therefore, there will be no problem in the production of the drug in sufficient quantities, would be a relief as Malaria is one of the most commonly prevalent diseases in the country leading to many fatalities,” Mr Azad said.
He emphasized that accessibility and affordability of drugs has to be the bottom line in order to reach the poor and needy, particularly in the remote and backward districts of the country. He cited the example of Brazil and other African countries who are beholden to affordable Indian HIV medicines particularly.
Mr Azad stated that Indian pharma industry has made tremendous progress in terms of both quantum and quality in the past few decades.
“Indian industry is now the third largest in the world in terms of volume and 14th in terms of value because of comparatively lower profit margins. It is maintaining an annual growth rate of 12% to 14% and is currently producing pharma products worth Rs. one lakh crores or 20 billion USD, out of which drugs worth Rs. 42 thousand crores or 8.5 billion USD are exported”, he pointed out.
He hailed the scientists, doctors and technicians noting that India is fast emerging as a country of destination for drug discovery research – made possible because of the considerable increase in the expenditure incurred on research and development, not only by the Government but also by the Pharma companies themselves in the last few years. He pointed out that India has the highest number of US FDA approved plants outside USA and that Indian pharma companies are filing the highest number of abbreviated new drug applications in USA.
Mr Azad also urged the States to seize the opportunity and strengthen their agencies of assisting in combating diseases like Malaria by putting back in place systems of malaria network officials, properly utilize central funds being given under NRHM. He pointed out that rapid diagnostic kits have been given to village level community health workers ASHAs in more than 250 districts in malaria endemic states for early detection and treatment of malaria. Currently, the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, North Eastern states, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh contributed bulk of malaria cases in India.
“The National Programme for Prevention & Control of Vector Borne Diseases advised the Malaria treatment to be changed to artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) since 2010. Introduction of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs) in the National Programme has also contributed significantly to reduce the transmission and incidence of malaria,” Mr Azad said.