Every minute a child dies of malaria. During the same time, at least another child will be left disabled, and about one hundred children will contract this disease. Whole economies are crippled by malaria. The continuing pandemic persists despite bednets and pharmaceutical treatment that costs less than a cup of coffee. Something is missing, and we believe it is patient adherence – the degree to which patients follow recommended health regimens.
Pills have been dispensed to patients for more than 2000 years. As is often the case with legacy technology, no one questions the legitimacy of pills. Fact is that large percentages of the population, particularly children and the elderly, have great difficulty swallowing pills – either because of the size or the bitterness of pills. As a result, patients don’t adhere to medicine regimens and their health suffers.
We have taken the patient’s perspective and developed a fresh look at the effective delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients –oral dissolvable strips (ODS). ODS are solid, but have the property of a liquid, medicines in ODS are often absorbed faster and more effectively, the bitter taste of medicines is masked with flavor, ODS are easier to transport and more difficult to counterfeit. While ODS is not the only solution to the malaria (or any other) pandemic, it is an important leap ahead. And it will save a few children on the way.
Dr. Gerhard Apfelthaler, a native of Austria, is the co-founder of Oak Therapeutics, a small start-up with big ideas of addressing pressing health needs in regions in need. He previously co-founded another pharmaceutical start-up company, Cure Pharmaceutical, as well as AT Consult, a niche consulting firm with offices in Vienna, Austria and New York City, USA. He is also the Dean of the School of Management at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. Restless in professional and geographical terms, he has held positions at different universities and at Austrian embassies and trade commissions during his career, and he has studied, lived and worked in multiple countries including Austria, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States.
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