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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Nov;100(11):1019-24. Epub 2006 Jun 12.

Counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs in Cambodia.

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  • 1National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, 372 Boulevard Monivong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs can cause death and contribute to the growing malaria drug resistance problem, particularly in Southeast Asia. Since 2003 in Cambodia the quality of antimalarial drugs both in the public and private health sector is regularly monitored in sentinel sites. We surveyed 34% of all 498 known facilities and drug outlets in four provinces. We collected 451 drug samples; 79% of these were not registered at the Cambodia Department of Drugs and Food (DDF). Twenty-seven percent of the samples failed the thin layer chromatography and disintegration tests; all of them were unregistered products. Immediate action against counterfeit drugs was taken by the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the DDF. They communicated with the Provincial Health Department about the presence of counterfeit antimalarial drugs through alert letters, a manual, annual malaria conferencing and other training occasions. Television campaigns to alert the population about counterfeit drugs were conducted. Moreover, the NMCP has been promoting the use of good quality antimalarial drugs of a blister co-packaged combination of artesunate and mefloquine in public and private sectors. Appropriate strategies need to be developed and implemented by relevant government agencies and stakeholders to strengthen drug quality assurance and control systems in the country.

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