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Fav-Afrique, which for past so many years has been the most effective anti-venom against the 10 potentially snakbites in sub-Saharan Africa, is running out. Doctors have been made aware of the shortage that will soon take place.
The expensive drug costs up to $500, which is more than the average sub-Saharan African countries. Though governments and NGOs have subsidized the treatment, it was not enough to produce the drug to become profitable, said Sanofi Pasteur, the drug’s maker.
This is the reason that in 2010 that the company has announced that it will stop producing the drug in 2014. It has stopped the production and the available stock will last till June 2016.
“We are now facing a real crisis, so why do governments, pharmaceutical companies and global health bodies walk away when we need them most”, said Gabriel Alcoba, a snakebite expert affiliated with Doctors Without Borders.
Once the drug is no more available, it could imperil the lives of 1.5 million people who get bitten by snakes every year. It is not easy to produce snake antivenom. It has been found that Sanofi is negotiating with other company to take over the production of the drug. But then also the earliest another company will start the production of it is by 2018.
Till then, there are few alternatives available, but they are not as effective as Fav-Afrique.
Experts think that looming shortage of the drug shows the massive disparity between the treatment of snakebites in the developed and developing nations.