A Better Deal on Malaria

Novartis was breaking even selling Coartem. But it chose to lose money to save more lives

FREDERIC COURBET/WPN FOR TIME

A child suffering from malaria gets a dose of Coartem at a hospital in Tanzania.

For the past nine years, the drug company Novartis has been selling Coartem, one of the most effective antimalarials on the market, to public-health officials in the developing world at a loss totaling more than $253 million — not counting the millions spent on R&D. That's added up, the firm reports, to more than 550,000 lives saved. In late January, the company unveiled the first pediatric dose of Coartem — less bitter and easier to swallow than the adult version — which is expected to help in the battle against a disease that kills more than 700,000 children under 5 each...

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