Brazil: Government called to address Chagas drug shortage
The Brazilian government should take leadership in addressing the critical shortage of benznidazole - a drug used to treat Chagas disease - according to Doctors Without Borders. The drug was initially developed more than 40 years ago by a Swiss pharmaceutical company and through a convoluted string of events, the Brazilian state-owned laboratory LAFEPE became the sole producer of benznidazole in 2006. However, due to logistical issues and lack of support from the Ministry of Health, LAFEPE has not produced benznidazole. In a statement on their website, Doctors Without Borders said that the critical drug shortage "could have been prevented but the major player involved, the Brazilian Ministry of Health, has shirked its responsibilities and is evidently unwilling to overcome the various challenges." They go on to suggest the Ministry of Health publicly clarify the extent of the drug shortage as well as work with international organizations to develop a plan that manages current stocks, prioritizes high-risk patients, and ramps up benznidazole production. Doctors Without Borders.
Date Posted: 18 November 2011