One third of malaria remedies in the world are fake


Source: O Globo Online (Rio de Janeiro - RJ) - 22/05/2012

Counterfeiting causes resistance and failure to treat the disease, say researchers

An article published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases magazine shows that one third of the drugs used to contain the spread of malaria in the world are false. Researchers who analyzed 1500 samples of drugs taken from seven countries in Southeast Asia say the low quality of counterfeit drugs is causing resistance and treatment failures.

Another analysis carried out in 21 sub-Saharan African countries, with more than 2500 drug samples, showed similar results. American researchers at the Fogarty International Center, of the National Institutes of Health, who coordinated the work, believe that the problem may be even greater than the data suggest.

"Most cases may not be reported, or are reported to the wrong agencies, or kept confidential by pharmacists," write the researchers.

No far-reaching study on the quality of medicines has been carried out in China or India, countries that concentrate one third of the world population and are important points of medicine production.

"Between 655 and 1,2 million people die every year from the disease," the researcher who led the study, Gaurvika Nayyar, told the BBC. - Most of these deaths could be prevented if the drugs available to patients were effective, quality and used correctly.

The study says that the means of monitoring the quality of drugs against malaria is insufficient and that there is little knowledge among consumers and health professionals about treatments. There is still a lack of supervision of the production of these drugs, as well as punitive actions against counterfeiters.

Despite this, malaria mortality has fallen by more than 25% worldwide since 2000, and 33% in the African region. But the World Health Organization says that maintaining current rates of decline in the number of deaths is not enough to meet global goals for controlling the disease. And it makes a call to increase investments in diagnostic tests, treatment and inspection.