E-DRUG: BBC: Fake malaria drugs recalled in Kenya
[Congrats to those involved -- but do E-Drug readers in Kenya have
any more details? Who caught this and how? Have the medicines
already been distributed across the country and is it a country-wide
recall? How is that being implemented? This could be useful
information if it were to happen again in another country. Libby]
Malaria drugs recalled in Kenya
A Chinese pharmaceutical firm plans to recall thousands of
anti-malarial drugs supplied to Kenya after discovering a counterfeit
The vice-president of Holley-Cotec Pharmaceuticals said 20,000 doses
of Duo-cotecxin will be removed from sale.
He told the BBC an analysis of the counterfeit product showed it had
very low active ingredients and patients taking it would not be cured.
An estimated 35,000 people die of malaria in Kenya each year.
Duo-cotecxin is one of the artemisinin-based combination therapy
drugs highly recommended by World Health Organization to treat
malaria and is widely supplied in government and private hospitals in Kenya.
A full dose of Duo-cotecxin costs about $5 in Kenya, the
counterfeited drug is being sold for less than $1.
The Ministry of Health has been spearheading a campaign to crack down
on counterfeit drugs that are readily available in the Kenyan market.
Dr Willy Akwale, who heads the government anti-malaria control unit,
said this is the first case of a counterfeit supply of artemisinin
combination therapy drugs.
"There have been many counterfeits on the sulphur-based anti-malaria
drugs before, forcing us to have difficulties in countering the
disease," Dr Akwale told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.
Eric Law, Holley-Cotec Pharmaceuticals' vice-president, said they are
yet to locate the source of the counterfeits, but there is strong
evidence linking the supplies to Asia.
"We are now going to introduce a new technology to tamper-proof the
doses that will be supplied to replace the withdrawn drugs," Mr Law
told the BBC News Website.
Health officials warn of a global health catastrophe if a growing
trade in fake anti-malarial drugs leads to widespread resistance.
Sophisticated trans-national gangs are thought to be behind the
counterfeit drugs, a fast-growing multibillion dollar business.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan government said on Thursday that there has been
a dramatic rise in the number of children sleeping under insecticide
treated mosquito nets.
It said that a two-year campaign to provide nets at subsidised prices
has resulted in more than two-thirds of under five-year-olds sleeping