Jan. 17, 2012, 10:46 a.m.
"Hopes of controlling malaria in Africa could be wrecked by criminals who are circulating counterfeit and substandard drugs, threatening millions of lives, scientists" said in a study published in the Malaria Journal last month, the Guardian reports. "They are calling for public health authorities to take urgent action to preserve the efficacy of the antimalarials now being used in the worst-hit areas of the continent," the newspaper adds (Boseley, 1/16). "The counterfeit medicines could harm patients and promote drug resistance among malaria parasites, warns the study, funded by the Wellcome Trust," BBC News writes (1/16). In the study, Paul Newton from the Wellcome Trust-Mahosot Hospital-Oxford University Tropical Medicine Research Collaboration in Laos, and colleagues report on the make-up of samples of suspect drugs collected from 11 countries in Africa between 2002 and 2010, noting that "some counterfeits contained a mixture of wrong active pharmaceutical ingredients, some of which may initially alleviate malaria symptoms but would not cure malaria," the Guardian writes (1/16). "'Failure to take action will put at risk the lives of millions of people, particularly children and pregnant women,' [Newton] said," according to BBC (1/16).