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Global Health
November 16, 2011

Chagas Disease Drug Shortage

JAMA. 2011;306(19):2082. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1643

Supplies of the drug benznidazole used to treat Chagas disease are running out, leaving thousands of people without treatment. Representatives from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; or Doctors Without Borders) is calling on the Brazilian Ministry of Health, which is responsible for the world's only laboratory that makes the drug, to immediately work on a solution to address this shortage (http://tinyurl.com/638kyls).

Benznidazole is produced by the Brazilian state-owned laboratory LAFEPE (Laboratorio Farmaceutico do Estado de Pernambuco). The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used by LAFEPE was recently transferred to a private company, Nortec Quimica, who has not been able to validate production of the API.