Monday, November 22, 2010

WHO: Fake Drugs Major Factor in New Malaria Strain

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alarm about a new strain of drug resistant malaria in South East Asia.

According to SafeMedicines, a newly published report on antimalarial drug efficacy and resistance, scientists believe that fake and substandard malarial medications are a major factor in the development of new drug-resistant strains of malaria.

According to SafeMedicines:

• Resistance to artemisinin has emerged along the border of Cambodia and Thailand, and WHO is putting together a global panel of stakeholders to work to contain this new strain before it spreads to Africa, as other strains did in the 1960s and 1970s. Scientists believe that once a new strain occurs through spontaneous change in the parasite, its ability to survive is promoted by substandard medications.

• Current containment activities involve long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, recruitment and training of village health workers equipped with rapid diagnostic tests, and most importantly free malaria treatment and follow-up. Free treatment is key to the success of the containment effort because “free treatment and care helps to undermine the sale of counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs,” states WHO in the “Global Report on Antimalarial Drug Efficacy And Drug Resistance: 2000-2010.

“Efforts have also been made to stop the sale of counterfeit and substandard drugs, which are a major factor in the development of resistance,” states the report.

• WHO’s report states that the Cambodian government is working closely to monitor malarial medications and educating consumers in workshops and through reading materials on the extensive dangers fake malaria drugs may cause them.

• “History has shown that once resistance to antimalarial treatment emerges it is only a question of time before it spreads. For the first time, the global malaria community has the opportunity to contain resistance before it spreads,” states the report.

• Artemisinin is a plant-based antimalarial medicine, which due its potency very quickly reduces the number of malaria parasites in humans. Artemisinin compounds are combined with other anti-malarial drugs in therapies called artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Using combination therapies provide multiple possible agents to kill the plasmodium parasites that cause malaria.

Drug resistant diseases know no borders and effect wealthy and the poor.
Counterfeit drugs have become one of the most insidious criminal and health care epidemics of the 21st century.

All members of the global pharmaceutical supply chain (manufacturers, distributors, regulatory agencies, dispensers and consumers) must insist on it members to use all laws, solutions and technologies to fight this lethal crime.

To view the entire SafeMedicines post, visit:

To learn more about anti-counterfeiting technologies, visit:

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