By the end of June, the most effective African anti-venom, deemed unprofitable, is set to run out.
Drugmaker Sanofi-Pasteur has ceased production, citing the commercial disadvantages of the treatment—time-consuming to produce and expensive, at a cost of about $500 for patient. It says governments and donors are equally responsible for the problem, and it has offered to share the technology with any other manufacturer—but there have been no takers so far.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that the loss of Sanofi-Pasteur’s Fav-Afrique is especially serious; it can treat bites of about 10 different snakes—very useful as it can be administered even when patients can’t say what type of snake bit them. About 30,000 Africans die of snakebites annually, according to MSF.