Assure the artemisinin supply chain to enable the increased production of ACTS
Increased donor funding for the most effective malaria treatments, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), has caused a considerable increase in global demand in artemisinin, the active ingredient in these treatments. Between 2009 and 2012, demand for approved ACTs increased by around 170%. Artemisinin is extracted from Artemisia annua, the sweet wormwood plant grown in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe Africa and South America.
To stabilise the supply of artemisinin and respond to the threat of shortages, UNITAID’s Assured Artemisinin Supply Service project aims to increase the global supply of artemisinin.
Launched in 2009, this project encourages farmers to grow Artemisia annua and incentivize extractors to sell artemisinin to manufacturers of ACTs. Since the growing, harvesting, extracting and producing of artemisinin takes about 18 months, farmers need incentives to grow the plant in place of other agricultural products. Through agreements between artemisinin extractors, prequalified ACT manufactures and i+solutions (a supply chain management NGO), UNITAID provides loans to artemisinin extractors so the artemisinin supply can meet demand. Pre-financing from UNITAID allows extractors to purchase additional stocks of Artemisia annua and increase production of refined artemisinin.
In March 2011, UNITAID’s Executive Board voted to not approve an extension to this project and conduct an orderly closure.
The implementer is currently developing a new project plan to complete ongoing activities and support the market intelligence component of the project. A detailed plan is being developed for recovering loans, delivering contracted Artemisinin. No further loans have been approved.