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Counterfeit and substandard anti-malaria drugs threaten crisis in Africa, experts warn
Date:1/17/2012

s well as increasing mortality and morbidity, risk exacerbating the economic and social impact of malaria on societies that are already poor. Worse still, they encourage drug resistance, potentially resulting in the failure of artemisinin treatments, with profound consequences for public health in Africa. Failure to take action will put at risk the lives of millions of people, particularly children and pregnant women."

Dr Newton and colleagues argue that multiple parallel strategies are needed to tackle this problem. Amongst their recommendations is increased investment in national medicine regulatory authorities in Africa to regulate the quality of the medications and to improve access to good quality, affordable artemisinin combination therapies.

Commenting on the research, Dr Jimmy Whitworth, Head of International Activities at the Wellcome Trust, said: "This research is very worrying and should act as an early warning. We have already begun to see the emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites in south east Asia; substandard and counterfeit anti-malarials and the availability of artemisinin monotherapies threaten to lead to the spread of drug resistance in Africa. If this happens, the effect could be devastating on efforts to control malaria in Africa."

Combating infectious diseases is one the strategic priorities of the Wellcome Trust. Much of this work is carried out at a local level in regions where disease is endemic. This includes several major overseas programmes, including the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme unit in Laos, headed by Dr Newton.


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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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