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Wall Street Journal Investigates Shipments Of Fake Malaria Medicines From China To Africa

The Wall Street Journal investigates the shipping of counterfeit antimalarial medicines from China to Africa, writing a “blizzard of fakes threatens the progress” made against the mosquito-borne illness in recent years. The article looks specifically at Chinese copies of Coartem available for purchase in markets in Luanda, Angola, where last year the largest seizure of fake medicines ever recorded occurred when 1.4 million packets of counterfeit Coartem were discovered in a shipping container of stereo speakers. “Coartem isn’t the only malaria drug available in Angola,” the newspaper writes, adding, “But it is the most widely used because it is a relatively new form of treatment that global health authorities consider more effective than previous generations of medicine.” Novartis, the manufacturer of Coartem, “said it is ‘collaborating with partners in government, industry and law enforcement’ to fight counterfeits,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which adds the company “has also added new security features on its packaging to make copies more difficult to produce” (Facon/Murphy/Whalen, 5/29). The newspaper also provides a video interview with the authors, discussing the shipping route and the growing trade relationship between China and African countries (5/28).

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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.