💊 South Africa’s Covid contracts revealed; Uganda makes its own morphine; A WHO toolkit for air pollution and health training
#422 | Breakfast v jet lag; MicroRNA v cancer; Climate change v African economy
Hello there. Welcome back to The Kable for another busy day. Again, something for you to watch before you get to reading: how a partnership between Hospice Africa Uganda, National Medical Stores of Uganda, and the Government of Uganda is improving access to morphine through local manufacturing. Here’s one area where we hope they don’t get too good at it, the world definitely doesn’t need another opioid crisis.
Today, four partners - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Government Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Boehringer Ingelheim, and GALVmed – have partnered up to find solutions to African animal trypanosomiasis. This disease afflicts and kills millions of cattle annually. Let’s hope that that animal vaccine hesitancy we told you about yesterday isn’t a problem when a solution does come around.
Estimates suggest that the illicit market makes up 80% of medical products in Burkina Faso and Guinea. The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has released a research report titled “Bad Pharma: Trafficking illicit medical products in West Africa”. The report analyses the market’s key characteristics and enablers, assesses national and regional responses, and recommends actions for ECOWAS, national authorities, and civil society.
Meanwhile, a pharma business delegation from Nigeria is in New Delhi to meet Indian manufacturers and exporters to discuss potential JVs or collaborations. Fidson Healthcare, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries, EKO Pharmacy, and May & Baker Nigeria are some of the companies on this Indian sojourn.
India itself is taking measures to address quality concerns that have come to light in the past year. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is working towards new measures regarding dossier approval for drug licensing, risk-based inspection of drug manufacturing sites, market surveillance for quality monitoring and more, all of which will be implemented uniformly across the country.
Still in India, the National Medical Commission had recently mandated that doctors prescribe only generic molecule names. The mandate has been put in abeyance in response to pushback from industry bodies and medical associations. But it seems likely that the move will be enforced. This Business Standard article writes about how companies can adjust their business models to cope with this change.
Our last India story for today is about the Drugs Controller General of India issuing an advisory for patients and healthcare professionals to discontinue the use of Digene due to safety concerns. Abbott has initiated a voluntary recall of the product.
In neighbouring Bangladesh, healthcare cooperation with Indonesia continues. Bangladesh is requesting Indonesia to import pharma products and raw materials and ease its registration process for Bangladeshi pharma products, highlighting the existing imbalance in the bilateral trade volume.
Coming to Malaysia, a Global HPV Consortium to eliminate cervical cancer has been launched in Kuala Lumpur, with the Sabin Vaccine Institute serving as its Secretariat.
Over in South Korea, Seegene – a solutions provider for PCR molecular diagnostics – has unveiled its Open Innovation Programme in partnership with Springer Nature. Available globally, this programme will empower experts, scientists and clinicians to develop syndromic quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays across all fields. The inaugural edition includes projects related to UTIs, STIs, multidrug-resistant organisms, and tick-borne diseases.
Zenas BioPharma has announced a strategic license and collab agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb to develop and commercialise the bi-functional antibody Obexelimab for autoimmune diseases in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. BMS is making an upfront payment of $50 million, with more milestone payments and royalties due down the line.
Abbott is acquiring Bigfoot Biomedical to further develop personalized, connected diabetes solutions.
There’s bad news on the long Covid front as Tonix Pharmaceuticals’ experimental drug didn’t meet its primary goal in a mid-stage study for long Covid-associated muscle pain management.
In the UK, £5.5 million is being dedicated to deliver a new UK Medicines Manufacturing Skills Centre of Excellence. This is part of the £650 million Life Sci for Growth funding package announced in May 2023.
In a story that makes our Editor very very sad, a class-action lawsuit against Medtronic alleges that the company’s insulin delivery devices shared patient data with Google and other third parties. 😢
At the Africa Food Systems Forum in Tanzania, USAID announced investments worth $15 million to support inclusive and resilient food systems in Africa.
And finally, in a case of better late than never, the WHO has developed a groundbreaking new toolkit on Air Pollution and Health Training for health workers.