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Quality of artemisinin-containing antimalarials in Tanzania’s private sector— Results from a nationally representative outlet survey


American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene - Supplement on the Pandemic of Falsified Medicines

Category: Publications

Author: ACT Consortium Drug Quality Project Team and the IMPACT2 Study Team

Published Date: 20 April 2015


Ensuring that artemisinin-containing antimalarials (ACAs) are of good quality is a key component of effective malaria treatment. There are concerns that a high proportion of ACAs are falsified or substandard, though estimates are rarely based on representative data. During a nationally representative survey in Tanzania, ACAs were purchased from private retail drug outlets, and the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) was measured. All 1,737 ACAs contained the labeled artemisinin derivative, with 4.1% being outside the 85–115% artemisinin API range defined as acceptable quality. World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified drugs had 0.1 times the odds of being poor quality compared with non-prequalified ACAs for the artemisinin component. When partner components of combination therapies were also considered, 12.1% were outside the acceptable API range, and WHO prequalified ACAs had 0.04 times the odds of being poor quality. Although the prevalence of poor quality ACAs was lower than reported elsewhere, the minority of samples found to be substandard is a cause for concern. Improvements in quality could be achieved by increasing the predominance of WHO prequalified products in the market. Continued monitoring of quality standards is essential.


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