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More Than Half Of Malaria Drugs In West Africa ‘Sub-Standard Quality,’ Says UNODC

VOA News reports that fake pharmaceuticals pose a greater risk to stability and human security in West Africa than illegal drug trafficking, according to U.N. Office Against Drugs and Crime report. More than half of the malaria medication available in West Africa is of “sub-standard quality,” according to U.N. estimates, VOA News writes, adding, “West Africa has the highest estimated rate of malaria on the continent, with nearly 98 million cases of malaria per year.”

“According to studies available, 50 percent of malaria tablets available in West Africa are fake, or they contain 20 percent of the active ingredient.” Antonio Mazzitelli, the regional representative of the U.N. Office Against Drugs and Crime, said (Thomas, 7/10).

In related news, Ghana’s Food and Drugs Board (FDB) recently warned the public about the presence of fake Coartem, a drug used to treat malaria, Joy Online reports. The FDB “has confiscated 150 packs of the product from nine wholesale and retail pharmacies involved in the distribution and sale of the fake products,” writes the news service.

Joseph Bennie, an FDB officer, said the board has altered its internal mechanisms to more quickly and efficiently identify counterfeit goods on the local market and said retailers who find them should contact the FDB or the Pharmacy Council (7/10).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.