Pharmaceutical International News - May 2012
Global Fake Malaria Drug Treatment Levels Rise
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 22/05/2012 - 19:05:00
Fake malaria drugs make up an estimated one-third of the world's supplies, according to US-based researchers.
Their finding stems from research involving a group of seven drugs used to treat malaria in Asia, with one-and-a-half thousand individual samples examined in all. It's supplemented by additional studies of a further 2,500 drugs from 21 sub-Saharan African nations and, in both cases, the researchers state that, in these countries, the failure of malaria treatments and
the rise of drug resistance are linked to the spread of counterfeit drugs.
No less than 106 nations class malaria as endemic - in other words, extremely well-established and sustained.
Fake Malaria Drugs
The researchers involved in this fake malaria drugs research hail from the US National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center and a study, based on the research, is now in The Lancet Infectious Diseases publication.
While their data is already highly concerning, they think it might actually underestimate the full extent of fake malaria drug sales and distribution, stating: ‘Most cases are probably unreported, reported to the wrong agencies, or kept confidential by pharmaceutical companies.' They add that, to date, no major research has looked at the state of malaria treatment drugs in India or China which, combined, are home to 30+ per cent of the global population.
Fake Malaria Treatments
"Between 655,000 and 1.2 million people die every year from Plasmodium falciparum infection", Gaurvika Nayyar, who led this fake malaria treatments research, explained in a statement, adding: "Much of this morbidity and mortality could be avoided if drugs available to patients were efficacious, high quality, and used correctly."
Nayyar and colleague stress that there's still many instances of malaria drug treatments being correctly distributed and prescribed but highlight several of the factors driving the proliferation of counterfeits. These include below-grade monitoring facilities, a limited knowledge base among health workers and consumers, subpar regulatory control and insufficient action taken against those involved in the fake malaria drug supply chain.
Data previously published by the World Health Organization shows that, over the past decade, deaths from malaria have dropped by at least 25 per cent around the world as a whole. But now, it's warning against complacency and is urging for new investments into malaria testing, treatment and monitoring processes.
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