Global Forecasting for ACTs

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Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) is the most effective treatment for uncomplicated malaria. ACT refers to a combination of a rapidly-acting artemisinin derivative with a longer-acting antimalarial partner drug. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) revised its malaria treatment guidelines to recommend ACTs over all other therapies. In less than a decade after that recommendation, the scale-up of ACTs has been one of the most important health technologies to see such a widespread increase in demand. Demand for ACTs increased from 2 million treatment courses in 2003 to 300 million in 2013. (See Figure 1 for ACT scale-up by year.) The increase in demand also came with demand uncertainties, however, leading to supply and demand mismatches.

Global forecasting has been recognized as an important market intervention to improve supply/demand imbalance in global health markets. Indeed, global forecasting was successfully used to support UNICEF’s efforts to provide affordable, reliable access to EPI vaccines in middle- and low-income countries. 1 This case study examines how global forecasting was used to reduce the supply and price volatility of ACTs and discusses the improved results as well as the lessons learned from the process.