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Sanofi SA stops production of Fav-Afrique, sparking anti-dote crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

Sanofi SA stops production of Fav-Afrique, sparking anti-dote crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

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?"

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Sanofi SA stops production of Fav-Afrique, sparking anti-dote crisis in sub-Saharan Africa
Trymore Magomana

Trymore Magomana

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.

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Trymore Magomana