Fake antimalarials in Southeast Asia are a major impediment to malaria control: multinational cross-sectional survey on the prevalence of fake antimalarials
Article first published online: 9 DEC 2004
Tropical Medicine & International Health
Volume 9, Issue 12, pages 1241–1246, December 2004
How to Cite
Dondorp, A. M., Newton, P. N., Mayxay, M., Van Damme, W., Smithuis, F. M., Yeung, S., Petit, A., Lynam, A. J., Johnson, A., Hien, T. T., McGready, R., Farrar, J. J., Looareesuwan, S., Day, N. P. J., Green, M. D. and White, N. J. (2004), Fake antimalarials in Southeast Asia are a major impediment to malaria control: multinational cross-sectional survey on the prevalence of fake antimalarials. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 9: 1241–1246. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2004.01342.x
- Issue published online: 9 DEC 2004
- Article first published online: 9 DEC 2004
- counterfeit drugs;
- fake antimalarials;
- Southeast Asia;
Objective To assess the prevalence of counterfeit antimalarial drugs in Southeast (SE) Asia.
Design Cross-sectional survey.
Setting Pharmacies and shops selling antimalarial drugs in Myanmar (Burma), Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Main outcome measures Proportion of artemisinin derivatives or mefloquine containing drugs of substandard quality.
Results Of the 188 tablet packs purchased which were labelled as ‘artesunate’ 53% did not contain any artesunate. All counterfeit artesunate tablets were labelled as manufactured by ‘Guilin Pharma’, and refinements of the fake blisterpacks made them often hard to distinguish from their genuine counterparts. No other artemisinin derivatives were found to be counterfeited. Of the 44 mefloquine samples, 9% contained <10% of the expected amount of active ingredient.
Conclusions An alarmingly high proportion of antimalarial drugs bought in pharmacies and shops in mainland SE Asia are counterfeit, and the problem has increased significantly compared with our previous survey in 1999–2000. This is a serious threat to public health in the region.