Monday, October 12, 2009

Fake Malaria Drugs Spread, Breed Resistance to Lethal Parasite

In an October 9th story written by Simeon Bennett which appeared on, fake malaria drugs from China are breeding resistance to life-saving medications in Cambodia and threatening to derail global efforts to eradicate the disease, a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found.

The following are some interesting facts from Mr. Bennett’s story about the study:

  • Among more than 700 packets of pills sold at private drugstores in Cambodia and Thailand, 60 percent were found to be substandard or counterfeit around the border, compared with less than 5 percent in other areas in Thailand. Previous studies have suggested about one-third of malaria drugs in western Cambodia are fake.

  • Substandard treatments are contributing to growing resistance to genuine medicines in the area, he said. That threatens to unravel progress made against the disease in Africa, which has 90 percent of the world’s malaria cases, if the resistant strain spreads there, researchers have warned.

  • The pills tested in the $350,000 Gates-funded study were mostly from China and touted to contain artesunate, part of a family of drugs called artemisinins that are the most potent weapons against malaria… the study completed last week found that some had no active ingredient, while others contained small amounts, which fuel resistance by favoring the survival of the hardiest parasites, he said.

  • Treatments derived from artemisinin are taking almost twice as long to clear the parasites in patients in western Cambodia than in northwestern Thailand, showing the drugs are losing their potency against the disease, a study published in July in the New England Journal of Medicine showed.

  • “This is a very, very large problem potentially for the whole world,” said Nick White, director of the Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, which is studying drug-resistant malaria in the areas around the Thai- Cambodia border. “The scale and the speed of the response have been unfortunately too small,” he said.

The worldwide epidemic of counterfeit drugs continues to grow and impact the healthcare of people around the world.

XStream Systems’ revolutionary technology allows for those within the supply chain to screen and verify medications inside their unit-of-sale container without degrading or destroying the material. This type of verification is a vital solution to the proliferation of counterfeit, adulterated and fraudulent drugs and it impact to the healthcare of populations around the world.

To read the story, follow this link:

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