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WHO includes new AIDS and malaria medicines on prequalification list

Three new antiretrovirals and two antimalarials have been added to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) list of prequalified medicines. Tenofovir and efavirenz (in two different strengths) and artemotil (also in two different strengths) are crucial products for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and malaria respectively and will considerably boost the choice of therapy in resource-poor countries.

Tenofovir, produced by Gilead Sciences, Inc. was recommended in WHO's 2003 AIDS treatment guidelines mainly as an option for the second-line treatment of AIDS. In 2006, its use will be expanded to first-line treatment.

The second antiretroviral is efavirenz, manufactured by Merck Sharp and Dohme BV. This product is one of the medicines recommended by WHO for first-line treatment and is a preferential drug in treatment programmes for patients with HIV/tuberculosis co-infection.

The antimalarial, artemotil, manufactured by ARTECEF BV, is a parenteral (non-oral) artemisinin preparation intended for the treatment of severe malaria, such as cerebral malaria, which may cause a lowered degree of consciousness and thus preclude oral intake of medicines. Malaria leads to more than one million deaths yearly, of which over 75% occur in African children under 5 years of age infected with the cerebral form of the illness.

Products newly listed:

  • Efavirenz, 50mg Hard Capsule, Merck Sharp & Dohme BV, The Netherlands
  • Efavirenz, 200mg Hard Capsule, Merck Sharp & Dohme BV, The Netherlands
  • Tenofovir, 300mg Tablets, Gilead Sciences, Inc., United States
  • Artemotil, 50mg/ml solution for injection, ARTECEF BV, Germany
  • Artemotil, 150mg/ml solution for injection, ARTECEF BV, Germany

For more information contact:

Daniela Bagozzi
Communications Officer
Health Technologies and Pharmaceutical, WHO
Telephone: +41 22 791 4544
Mobile: +41 79 475 5490
E-mail: bagozzid@who.int

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