A new policy adopted in the Gambia identifies Coartem, an artemisinin-based combination therapy, as the country's first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. Previously, chloroquine was the country's first-line treatment, but a rise in chloroquine resistance prompted the country to make the switch.
For the first time in the European Commission's (EC) history, European drug company offices are now subject to surprise inspections, as the EC recently initiated an inquiry into the state of competition in the pharmaceutical sector. The EC hopes to uncover the reasons as to why there has been a decrease in novel medicines that make it to the market and why there is a holdup in generic market entry. The Commission will also attempt to determine whether certain agreements between pharma companies infringe upon restrictive business practice laws. Inquiry results are expected in the spring of 2009.
International health research and bioethics experts and policy makers took part in a roundtable on the establishment of African health research guidelines at the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union's Conference, Science with Africa, held in Ethiopia March 3–7. The discussion aimed to encourage the development of a foundation for legal and regulatory best practices in science and ethics in Africa, which could boost research and development in the country and help find cures for major diseases that affect a disproportionately high number of Africans as compared to the rest of the world.