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Examining Solutions To Distribution Of Substandard Malaria Drugs

Noting the emergence of drug resistance to the “once highly successful malaria treatments chloroquine and sulphadoxine pyrimethamine (SP)” and the resulting need for artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), Jasson Urbach, director of the South Africa-based Africa Fighting Malaria, in a post in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog, examines “what can be done [to] stop the distribution of substandard drugs that make resistance worse.” “Drug resistance can emerge due to porous borders, because they allow peddlers of fake and substandard drugs to move freely between countries,” Urbach notes, arguing that “[g]overnments should improve border control.” In addition, he says “[m]anufacturers can develop anti-tampering packaging and certification systems”; “[c]ompanies can develop drug detection technologies [such as text message services (SMS)] … to check the authenticity of their packs”; “[r]egulation bodies can streamline registration processes … to harmonize more and accept registrations on a regional basis”; and “[t]he international community can unite and commit to the issue … signing an international treaty on counterfeiting medicines” (9/2).