4% malaria drugs substandard in India: Study
The study by the American Enterprise Institute took precautions to eliminate counterfeit products from among its samples.
Out of 1,203 artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) examined in the study, 684 were produced by WHO-approved manufacturers and 519 by non-WHO approved ones. It said that 2.6 per cent (18/684) of the ACTs of WHO-approved manufacturers had insufficient active pharmaceutical ingredient (less than 75 per cent), while 12.5 per cent (65/519) of ACTs of non-approved manufacturers had too little active pharmaceutical ingredient, and were considered substandard.
Though the aim of the study was to ensure more effective utilisation of donor funds and it concluded that donors should emulate the practice of the US President’s Malaria Initiative of testing every batch of medicines sent out to foreign countries, for India the findings were medically significant given the high disease burden and the looming shadow of drug resistance. The three Indian cities from where drug samples were lifted were Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
“We use artemisinin as the second line of therapy as a large portion of malaria cases caused by the parasite, Plasmodium vivax, are resistant to chloroquine, which has been the first line drug. In fact, chloroquine resistant malaria is common in
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