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One-third of antimalarial medicines sampled in 3 African nations found to be substandard
Date:2/9/2010

Rockville, MD -- The first results from a large-scale study of key antimalarial medicines in ten Sub-Saharan African countries reveal that a high percentage of medicines circulating on national markets are of substandard quality and thus may contribute to the growth of drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent form of malaria. The findings, released today by the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) Program, a USAID-funded program implemented by the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), are for three countries surveyed in the study--Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda.

The results are part of the larger Quality of Antimalarials in Sub-Saharan Africa (QAMSA) study, a ten-country collaborative study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and PQM. Within Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda, the study sampled 491 antimalarials, performed basic testing on almost all, and submitted 197 samples to full-scale quality control testing. The focus was on artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) products, currently the WHO's recommended form of first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) products, often used for preventative treatment of malaria during pregnancy. The samples were collected from the public and regulated private sectors in these countries, as well as from informal markets, as many patients obtain their medicines from these sources. Substandard and counterfeit versions of antimalarial medicines are highly problematic throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America because of the direct threat they pose to the lives of individual patients as well as their contribution to the development of drug-resistant strains of these diseases.

In total, the QAMSA study found that approximately 44 percent of sampled medicines from Senegal, 30 percent of samples from Madagascar, and 26 percent of samples from Uganda that underwent full quality control laboratory testing failed such testing
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Contact: Francine Pierson
fp@usp.org
301-816-8588
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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