Crack Down on the Production of Counterfeit Antimalarial Drugs

Target: Khoo Boon Hui, President of the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO)–INTERPOL

Goal: Put an end to the production and distribution of counterfeit antimalarial drugs by enforcing harsher punishments for those involved in the criminal activity.

Counterfeit antimalarial drugs are threatening to set back decades worth of work aimed at ridding the world of the devastating disease. A new report conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) confirms that more than one-third of the samples taken of antimalarial drugs used in Africa were less than par. And these stores of fake drugs have the potential to cause greater harm if not immediately remedied.

The majority of the fakes were ruled to be poorly made artemisin derivatives, which brings additional worries since these medications are the primary drugs used to combat the disease. When the potency of these drugs is compromised, the disease is then able to build up a resiliency to them—making it harder, if not altogether impossible, for the drugs to have any impact whatsoever. So what remains now are drugs that are too diluted to be able to give their recipients a proper medicinal dosing, a greater chance that the infectious disease will build up a resistance to these necessary drugs, and criminals getting away with producing and distributing the medications.

Additionally, the study also points out that there is a current lack of international law which aims to crack down on this type of criminal activity. “The economic incentives for criminals of drug falsification surpass the risks involved in their production and sale,” explained the authors of the study which was published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. “Production and distribution of counterfeit antimalarial drugs should be prosecuted as crimes against humanity.”

It is estimated that malaria kills well over one million people every year, with children being at the greatest risk. Areas in Southeast Asia and Africa are consistently of greatest concern; but there is a silver lining. In areas where antimalarial drugs are screened (like Rwanda, for example) casualty rates are much lower and are even getting better.


Dear Mr. Khoo,

A recent study has raised concerns about the quality of the antimalarial drugs used in parts of Africa. According to researchers as part of the U.S. National Institute of Health, over one-third of antimalarial drugs sampled were of poor or shoddy quality.

The problem here is two-fold and will not only affect the health of the users, but will make it easier for the disease to evolve and build up a resistance to current vaccines, as well.

In order to protect those in need of antimalarial treatment, these fake drugs need to be eliminated—and the criminals in charge of producing and distributing them held accountable. Researchers involved in the issue suggest that in order to better crack down on this criminal activity, those responsible must be sought like the criminals they are. What is more, criminals need to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity.


[Your Name Here]

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