Saturday, November 12, 2011

Miconazole, 2007 to 2011

Tibotec has generously made available an antifungal drug, called Miconazole or micMAT, that treats oral thrush, a painful condition affecting 25% of AIDS patients every year. With the help of a generous grant from Tibotec established a cost recovering non-profit distribution program to make this drug available. At the same time we were working with the Minister of Public Health and the Department of Pharmacy to renew the sales license for this drug. It took 18 month and a lot of pushing to have the issue heard in committee. Even aftrer the license was issued it took another six month to print the actual license. Undetered by any of this Dr. Hodel who had met the Prime Minister Philemon Yang and obtained his generous support, did not hesitate and called on him. Now the drug is distributed through Laborex, a large well organized drug distribution company in Cameroon.

Drug productionin Africa ? YES

Dr. Hodel (l) and DR. Issa Hamadjoda, Cinpharm
Six long years, since Dr. Hodel went to Cameroon and started talking to everyone who would listen that a continent as large and diverse as Africa needed it's own drug production. "It can't be done" was the response in the US and even from some Africans. At the end it came faster than expected: Cameroon company starts full scale production of solid oral drugs, antibiotics, antifungals and pain killers. Others are in the pipeline. Goal is 60 products on the market. The company called Cinpharm is full African owned and run. Approximately 300 Cameroonians have been trained to run production, take care of quality control following GMP - Good Manufacturing Practices - the gold standard of the Pharmaceutical Industry world wide. In The USA this is better known to people as the FDA, the Food & Drug Administration.  
AIDSfreeAFRICA is pleased. However, instead of Dr. Hodel going into retirement, her work has just begun. We will do our best to help to expand, maintain, train and troubleshoot. In addition to production, drug access is becoming an issue, and HR - human resources. The Universities need resources to train students to become the next generation of drug producers. 

A truly exciting outlook.    

In a blog of the American Chemical Society, editor Linda Wang raises the question: Can A Pasta King Bring Generic Drugs To Sub-Saharan Africa? 

The resounding answer is YES.