Some WHO-approved malaria drugs fall short: study

July 10, 2012

Up to eight percent of malaria drugs approved by the World Health Organization or other regulators do not contain the right dose and may fuel resistance, researchers said Tuesday.

Two studies in published in Research and Reports in suggested manufacturing problems, rather than counterfeiting, may be to blame for these substandard drugs in low and around the world.

Poorly made or fake medications are a major problem worldwide, particularly as signs emerge of growing resistance to artemisinin, the frontline treatment for malaria, a disease the UN's (WHO) says killed 655,000 people in 2010.

One study sampled 104 artemisinin-based medicines from pharmacies in Ghana and Nigeria that were offered under the Affordable Medicines Facility by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, designed to boost access to the best treatments.

Eight were found to be significantly under-dosed in artemisinin, or had less than 75 percent of the main component of the drug, the study authors said.

"Why am I pretty sure that these are not fakes?" asked Roger Bate, lead author and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The reason is they have well over 50 percent of the active ingredient but under 75 percent," he said, adding that most counterfeits have very little or no in them.

A separate study that spanned 2,652 essential drugs -- including medicines for malaria, tuberculosis and bacterial infections -- found that the failure rate among WHO-approved products was 6.8 percent.

The samples came from 11 sites in Africa, three Indian cities, as well as Sao Paulo, Moscow, Bangkok, Istanbul and Beijing.

The highest failure rate -- 17.65 percent -- was seen among Chinese-made products approved by the WHO, said the study.

Researchers said the WHO has launched an investigation.

Explore further: Fake malaria drugs a growing problem: experts

Related Stories

Fake malaria drugs a growing problem: experts

December 5, 2011
Fake or poor quality malaria drugs are boosting resistance in parts of southeast Asia, a problem that is likely to worsen unless tighter regulations are adopted, US experts said Monday.

Fake malaria drugs threaten crisis in Africa

January 17, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The emergence of fake and poor quality anti-malarial drugs could dash hopes of controlling malaria in Africa, warn experts writing in the Malaria Journal. Millions of lives could be put at risk unless ...

Study finds early signs of malaria drug resistance in Africa

April 27, 2012
Africa's deadliest malaria parasite has shown resistance in lab tests to one of the most powerful drugs on the market -- a warning of possible resistance to follow in patients, scientists said Friday.

WHO hopeful drug-resistant malaria can be contained

April 24, 2012
The World Health Organisation said Tuesday it was optimistic drug-resistant malaria that has emerged along Thailand's borders with Cambodia and Myanmar could be contained within the region.

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.