AFM Bulletin #3: Safe Medicines Project - Phase II: The Zambian Case Study

02 Mar 2009
Africa Fighting Malaria
A range of antimalarial drugs were procured from private pharmacies, shops and kiosks within the urban and peri-urban areas of Lusaka, Zambia. Semi-quantitative thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and disintegration tests were conducted to measure active pharmaceutical ingredient content against internationally acceptable standards. All samples passed TLC and disintegration tests. The small sample size and limited scope of the collections preclude the authors from making any conclusions about malaria treatment standards in Zambia; however, the wide range of drugs collected, including those proscribed by the World Health Organization (WHO), indicate that there are problems with drug regulation and oversight in Zambia. Fifty-three percent of treatments collected were either oral artemisinin monotherapies or drugs that should no longer be used to treat malaria due to increased drug resistance. The artemisinin monotherapy treatments collected in this study were manufactured approximately 21 months on average after the WHO's appeal to halt their production and withdraw these clinically inappropriate drugs from the market.

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