Journal of Parasitic Diseases

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 1094–1095 | Cite as

Treatment of visceral leishmaniasis: anomalous pricing and distribution of AmBisome and emergence of an indigenous liposomal amphotericin B, FUNGISOME

  • Pradyot Bhattacharya
  • Nahid AliEmail author
Technical Note


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the severest forms of parasite borne diseases worldwide with a mortality rate second only to malaria. Treatment of VL patients with currently available chemotherapeutic agents poses problems of large scale failure, toxicity, prolonged hospitalization time, high treatment cost and drug resistance. However, most of these problems can be overcome by the use of liposomal formulations of Amphotericin B (L-AmB). Of the two L-AmBs currently available in Indian market, AmBisome is imported and FUNGISOME is indigenous. Initially AmBisome remained exorbitantly costly and therefore inaccessible to most of the VL patients. However, with the launch of FUNGISOME in India, Gilead in agreement with WHO started a donation program of AmBisome in developing countries through a slashed price of US $18 per vial. The price reduction is, however, restricted to clinical trials thus eluding majority of the VL patients. In fact, India was not included in this program and AmBisome was sold in Indian market at prices higher than the WHO proposed price of US $18 per vial. FUNGISOME, on the other hand, produced consistently good results against VL both clinically and experimentally. In the context of unavailability and price anomaly of AmBisome, successful emergence of FUNGISOME could mark it as the major L-AmB against VL.


Visceral leishmaniasis Treatment Liposomal amphotericin B Fungisome AmBisome Pricing 



Financial supported by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India.


  1. Alvar J, Velez ID, Bern C, Herrero M, Desjeux P et al (2012) Leishmaniasis worldwide and global estimates of its incidence. PLoS One 7:e35671. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035671 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Bodhe PV, Kotwani RN, Kirodian BG, Pathare AV, Pandey AK et al (1999) Dose-ranging studies on liposomal amphotericin B (L-AMP-LRC-1) in the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 93:314–318CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Gilead Sciences (2013) Visceral leishmaniasis in the developing world. Accessed May 2013
  4. Mondal S, Bhattacharya P, Rahaman M, Ali N, Goswami RP (2010) A curative immune profile 1 week after treatment of Indian kala-azar patients predicts success with a short-course liposomal Amphotericin B therapy. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4:e764. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000764 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Monge-Maillo B, López-Vélez R (2013) Therapeutic options for visceral leishmaniasis. Drugs 73:1863–1888. doi: 10.1007/s40265-013-0133-0 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. MSF (2011) Statement in response to Gilead donation of AmBisome for visceral Leishmaniasis. Accessed Dec 2011
  7. Verma S, Kumar R, Katara GK, Singh LC, Negi NS et al (2010) Quantification of parasite load in clinical samples of leishmaniasis patients: IL-10 level correlates with parasite load in visceral leishmaniasis. PLoS Onw 5:e10107. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010107 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. WHO (2013) Sustaining the drive to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases. Second WHO report on neglected diseases. WHO/Department of control of neglected tropical diseases. Accessed Jan 2013

Copyright information

© Indian Society for Parasitology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Infectious Diseases and Immunology DivisionIndian Institute of Chemical BiologyKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations