Malaria Drugs in Developing Countries

“Many of the drugs — even those approved by the World Health Organization — are Chinese fakes or low-quality variants that failed quality tests…”
One of the biggest problems the Health Sector faces in developing countries is eliminating malaria. But, with so many fake and low-quality malaria drugs being used, malaria is actually being accelerated! By distributing malaria drugs that are low quality causes drug resistance in the mosquitos. The drugs do not have enough potency to kill the parasite, but just enough to make it resistant. We are already using the strongest drugs we have in developing countries to fight malaria, and if we continue to produce drugs of low-quality medicines they will become useless and possibly make malaria untreatable.
The scary part is that the World Health Organization approved some of the drugs that were shown to not have enough medicine to kill the parasite. A study found that 20-42% of malaria drugs in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were of bad or fake quality.
We cannot reach our MDG if we continue to sell fake drugs. If we continue it is possible that malaria will become incurable in many developing countries.


5 responses to “Malaria Drugs in Developing Countries

  • gwendroff

    I’m curious about why the WHO organization would approve some of these drugs that in-turn actually are causing the mosquitos to become resistant? the WHO is a very reputable organization and clearly know the detrimental affects of approving a drug with not enough medicine so how did this even happen? this begs the question, does the WHO approve other medicines for various illnesses that are actually more harmful than helpful?

  • janinewilkin

    I had not considered this issue until the sector presentation. Not only are the drugs perpetuating the resistance of Malaria, but individuals are paying large portions of their funds for inefficient medication, I wonder (along with Gabby) why the WHO would approve such medication. It is a huge problem that I intend to read more into.

    When I went to Kenya this past summer, I had an infected wisdom tooth, requiring antibiotics and strong pain medicine. The experience of going into the ‘Chemist’ shop in a very rural town was unique. No prescription was needed and I could only hope that the medicine I had purchased would be effective. Luckily, the medication was effective, but with such a different policy about distributing medicine, I can imagine it would be very easy to distribute the wrong kind of medicine.

  • gmizrahi

    Possibly one of the reasons for the WHO approving this medicine could be the large nature of the organization. Often huge organizations have a number of bureacratic layers that things get approved through, which may lead to some important things falling through the cracks. This example could raise a debate about the effectivness of smaller vs. larger organizations and the pros and cons of each.

  • Miranda

    I agree with that – The WHO is such a large organization that these fake and low-quality drugs can just slip through the cracks. This is definitely something that the WHO should be aware of in order to prevent this kind of problem in the future. Mosquitos resisting the drugs for malaria could be a small issue compared to future problems that could arise with drugs of this kind.

    I had a similar experience to the Kenya chemist problem in India where the drugs that were given were without prescriptions. The medication did end up being fairly effective but it could be very easy to make a mistake in distributing the medicine.

  • pikester1214

    I agree with the statements above that many drugs of low-quality pass through the WHO without much testing. This is our reality, but these low-quality drugs for malaria, in particular, are the best we have at the moment. There is no effective medicine to counter malaria, though; only medicine that has slowed the epidemic until the mosquitos become resilient again to the current remedy. That’s why I think the WHO approved this one in particular because at the moment, it’s the best they have to counter the epidemic.

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