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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 288-294

Global scenario of counterfeit antimalarials: A potential threat

ICMR–National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Taruna Arora
ICMR–National Institute of Malaria Research, Sector 8, Dwarka, New Delhi–110 077
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.302030

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Malaria, a parasitic infectious disease causes approximately >1 million deaths annually worldwide. Treatment with effective antimalarials is one of the major strategies to combat malaria-related mortalities. However, there is a continuous threat of counterfeit antimalarials in the community. Counterfeit antimalarial drugs not only result in an economic loss but also decrease the efficacy of treatment resulting in the loss of faith in the health system and increases the the chances of drug resistance in the parasites. Counterfeit drugs hamper the intellectual property-based innovation paradigms as well. Awareness about these counterfeit drugs not only helps in avoiding drug resistance but may also enhance the drug therapeutic value. This review discusses the prevalence of counterfeit drugs in different geographic areas across the globe, the methods deployed for its detection and possible anticounterfeiting strategies. Literature search was conducted through PubMed, Google and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts using the terms ‘counterfeit antimalarials’, ‘substandard’, ‘falsified’, and ‘drug resistance’. Free searches in other search engines included the terms ‘antimalarial counterfeit drugs’ and ‘drug resistance’. Analysis of the literature survey indicated that majority of such studies were conducted in Southeast Asia and Africa region. The prevalence of substandard antimalarials was reported as high as 88.4% in Africa region and 53 % in Southeast Asia region. There is a need to follow a multifaceted approach to prevent the entry of falsified drugs with pre- and post-marketing surveillance. The samples need to be examined by regulatory bodies and strict legislation should be envisaged in order to maintain the quality of medicines.

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