84.6% of anti-malaria drugs in Lagos are fake - Research
Many a resident had dutifully used them as prescribed by their trusted physicians and wondered why the drugs failed to deliver on promise, as they did not get any better.
This may well be the reason: No fewer than 84.6 per cent of anti-malarial drugs sold in Lagos State are sub-standard, a research carried out by the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, on 13 brands of Artesunate-amodiaquine combinations, also known as Artemisin Combination Therapy, bought from pharmacies in the state has shown.
The researchers found that 84.6 per cent of the drugs failed to meet the United States Pharmacopeia specifications for one of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients.
All the 13 brands of ACT tested have the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control registration numbers.
The situation, experts say, raises the risk of treatment failures and resistant strains of the malaria parasite.
The USP Reference Standards are highly characterised physical specimens used in testing by pharmaceutical and related industries to help ensure the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines (drugs, biologics, and excipients), dietary supplements, and food ingredients.
The researchers, in the study published recently in African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, concluded: “Even though there is no case of outright counterfeiting from the results obtained in the study, the potency of the drugs vary considerably. Only 15.4 per cent of the samples studied had required amount of active ingredients for the two drugs.
“It is clear that the quality of most brands of artesunate amodiaquine combined therapy in circulation in Lagos metropolis is less than adequate. This result can be extrapolated for other cities in the sub-Saharan Africa. This poses a great threat to the global effort to combat the scourge of malaria.”
The study is titled: “Quality survey of some brands of artesunate-amodiaquine in Lagos drug market.”
However, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the NAFDAC are divided over the result of the study.
While NAFDAC says anti-malarial drugs registered by the agency are not sub-standard, the PSN says the study’s finding could have been caused by improper drug storage and weak strategy in the fight against sub-standard and counterfeit drugs.