Malaria eradication in India hindered by fake drugs, but promoting community awareness is still helpful

mosquitoMalaria is an epidemic in India, occurring not only in rural areas, but also in large cities like New Delhi. The 2011 World Malaria Report estimates that about 70 percent of India’s population faces risk of malaria infection. About 95 percent of India’s population resides in malaria-endemic areas. With the monsoon season’s early arrival, India can expect malaria outbreaks to heighten earlier as well.

Key Point: Malaria outbreaks may begin earlier in India due to an early monsoon season. Fake anti-malarial drugs on the market undermine the efforts to treat and reduce instances of malaria in India. The USA has launched a low-cost, portable counterfeit detection device (called CD-3) that may soon be available for use in India, and may help reduce the instances of fake drugs on the market. Doctors should meanwhile promote malaria awareness in their communities.

A persistent issue of which healthcare providers should be aware: patients may be buying anti-malarial drugs on the market that are counterfeit and therefore, not effective. Fake anti-malarial drugs are undermining efforts to reduce (and eradicate) malaria in India. Fake drugs mean patients are not cured, and are more likely to spread the disease to other individuals. Counterfeit drugs are becoming harder for even the trained eye to detect.

A new device is being launched by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States that detects...

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