French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur says it's no longer profitable to make one of the most vital anti-venom for snakebites in Africa.Fav-Afrique counters the toxins of some of the world's most deadly venomous snakes.
Sanofi Pasteur expects its current supply of Fav-Afrique to be depleted by June of next year , which will put thousands of victims in sub-Saharan Africa at risk.
"Fav-Afrique is no longer being manufactured so vulnerable farmers will lose their lives or limbs," Abdulrazaq Habib, a professor of infectious and tropical diseases at Nigeria's Bayero University, told The Independent.
Sanofi Pasteur says cheap drugs from Brazil, India and Mexico have forced it out of the anti-venom market. The technology used to make Fav-Afrique will be adapted for the production of rabies treatments.
Following the announcement by Sanofi Pasteur, healthcare advocates called for swift action by the World Health Organization and governments in a position to make a difference.
"In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 30,000 people die from snakebite every year and an estimated 8,000 undergo amputations," Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wrote in a press release. "The number of victims is likely to rise as existing stockpiles of one of the most effective anti-venoms for sub-Saharan Africa are due to expire in June 2016."
Venomous snakebites are common, especially in Africa, but are relatively ignored by world health bodies.
"We are now facing a real crisis so why do governments, pharmaceutical companies and global health bodies slither away when we need them most?" said Dr. Gabriel Alcoba, a medical adviser with MSF's snakebite program. "Imagine how frightening it must be to be bitten by a snake -- to feel the pain and venom spread through your body -- knowing it may kill you and there is no treatment available or that you can't afford to pay for it?"
Mr. Magomana graduated with an MBA from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds an MPH in Public Administration and an MA in International Relations. He got his BA from Grinnell College in 2007.