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First Phase Of Global Fund-Managed AMFm Shows Success In Bringing Malaria Drugs To Clinics

The Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) — an innovative financing mechanism that subsidizes the cost of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in order to expand access to the most effective treatment for malaria — “brought more than 100 million doses of malaria drugs to clinics and pharmacies in 2011” and “also increased access to the top malaria medicines by 26 to 52 percent in six countries,” according to results from the first phase of the program, which is hosted and managed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. The results of the evaluation, released on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., do not estimate how many lives were saved because of improved access to effective malaria medications, as “AMFm ran for only a year and half in most countries,” according to the blog. “The AMFm negotiated with drugmakers to reduce ACTs prices, and then the Global Fund subsidized the initial purchasing of the drugs by clinics and pharmacies,” the blog notes. 

“Many health officials at the meeting worried” that without data on lives saved the Global Fund could “scale back or terminate the successful pilot,” according to “Shots.” According to Kara Hanson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the independent evaluation of AMFm, the Global Fund should “‘continue to explore ways to improve the program’ and possibly expand into countries where it is likely to work,” the blog writes. Debrework Zewdie, deputy executive director of the Global Fund, said, “AMFm was an experiment, a proof of concept,” which showed private sector health care “is essential to in fighting malaria,” according to the blog. At a meeting in November, the Global Fund will make a decision about moving forward with AMFm, “Shots” notes. “The Global Fund doesn’t have the intention of terminating anything without due process,” Zewdie said, the blog writes (Doucleff, 9/19).