Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Counterfeit Malaria Drugs Responsible for Thousands of Deaths throughout Africa

According to the September 13th issue of Media Global, a global media outlet based in the United Nations Secretariat, the World Health Organization has revealed some disturbing statistics as it relates to the deathly impact of counterfeit medications in Africa. Some of the most revealing and interesting portions of the article are:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has increased efforts to fight the distribution and manufacture of counterfeit malaria drugs in Africa.

  • According to the World Health Organization, upwards of 2,000 children per day die as a result of taking these counterfeits medications.

  • Due to their high demand and price, malaria drugs are a prime target for counterfeiters.

  • Many of these counterfeits contain little to no active ingredients or even the wrong active ingredient. The active ingredient may temporarily soothe the symptoms but have no real effect on the disease itself.

  • "There is usually a low amount of active ingredient, like the pain reliever paracetamol, in fake malaria medications,” according to Dr. Lembit Rago, Coordinator of WHO Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies," in order to “cheat qualitative screening tests that just react to the presence of certain actives, and thus may mimic false positive results.”

Although known to many within global health organizations and those with insight into the issue of counterfeiting the death toll and scope of the issue is nonetheless shocking. The insidious nature of counterfeit drugs and the cost in human life should be galvanizing and accelerating industry and governments around the globe to combat this plague before it continues its proliferation around the globe.

XStream Systems and its EDXRD technology offer a solution to this issue by being able to screen and test materials within their unit of sale, penetrating through the packaging and being able to do a complete molecular screening of the product (active ingredients, excipients, dosage) without destroying or degrading the medication.

To read the Media Global article, ("Counterfeit Malaria Drugs Kill Thousands in Africa," Media Global, September 13, 2009), visit: mediaglobal.org.

To learn more about XStream Systems, visit: www.xstreamsystems.net.

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