Many Anti-Malaria Drugs In Africa Fake Or Substandard, Reports Show

“Many of Africa’s anti-malaria drugs are fake or of poor quality, weakening a crucial battle against the world’s deadliest disease, a new investigation has found,” GlobalPost reports, adding, “Many of the drugs — even those approved by the World Health Organization — are Chinese fakes or low-quality variants that failed quality tests, according to two new studies released today” (Conway-Smith, 7/10). “Two studies published in Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine suggested manufacturing problems, rather than counterfeiting, may be to blame for these substandard drugs in low- and middle-income countries around the world,” Agence France-Presse writes (7/10). Writing in a Business Day opinion piece published on Tuesday, “Roger Bate, lead author of the studies and a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, warned of ‘unthinkable’ public health consequences from drug resistance,” GlobalPost notes.

The first study looked at “2,652 samples of antimalarials, antibiotics and tuberculosis drugs … purchased in 11 African cities, three cities in India and five middle-income cities, including Beijing and Bangkok,” and found “[u]p to 15 percent of all the drugs bought in Africa failed basic quality testing,” and “[o]f the drugs that had received approval from the [WHO], seven percent failed the quality tests,” GlobalPost writes. “The second study found that nearly eight percent of antimalarial drugs approved by the WHO or another ‘stringent’ regulatory authority, and sold in Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria, failed quality tests because they contained too little of the active ingredient,” the news service adds. “Bate told reporters in a conference call that the WHO has launched an investigation on the basis of his studies,” GlobalPost notes (7/10).

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