Addressing Poor-Quality Medicines Vital To Sustaining Progress Against, Ending Malaria

Devex: Opinion: To end malaria, we cannot ignore the reality of poor-quality medicines
Ronald T. Piervincenzi, chief executive officer of USP, and Delese Mimi Darko, pharmacist and chief executive officer of Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority

“…WHO estimates that one in 10 medicines in low- and middle-income countries are substandard or falsified. At best, these drugs simply fail to work, promising to help a patient while delivering nothing; at worst, they can further sicken or kill. … Alongside antibiotics, anti-malarials are among the most commonly reported to WHO for quality issues. While existing data can only paint a partial picture, by some estimates, about a third of all anti-malarial medicines in sub-Saharan Africa are poor-quality; by others, the numbers are as high as 60 percent. … Thankfully, the challenge of poor-quality medicines is fixable — and Ghana offers cause for hope. … To sustain progress and succeed against malaria, we need to apply some of the lessons from Ghana and elsewhere. To start, we need to shine a brighter spotlight on this problem. … Additionally, as part of efforts to strengthen health systems in every country, governments must keep quality top of mind when buying and obtaining medicines for distribution. … Finally, we need to ensure that physicians, pharmacists, and health workers have the training and tools they need to detect poor-quality medicines before they ever reach our patients’ hands. … Today, we have the life-saving medicines to put an end to malaria for good. By protecting medicines quality, we can carry this promise forward not just for malaria, but for all diseases whose progress is threatened by poor-quality medicines and systems that don’t reach patients with the care they deserve” (12/12).