Counterfeit Antimalarial Drugs Found in Ghana


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What: A citizen brought suspect antimalarial medication to a sentinel site set up by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Drug Quality Information Program (DQI).

When: Reported July 22, 2009

Where: Ghana, Africa

Who: Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Additional details:

Photo of counterfeit anti-malarial confiscated in Ghana

In a statement released by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), a citizen of Ghana brought a sample of Coartem, an antimalarial medication manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, to a drug monitoring site set up by USAID’s DQI program.

The sample failed initial testing by USAID officials on site, and then again by Ghana Food and Drug Board (FDB), at which time it was ruled as counterfeit. At the time the statement was released, FDB said that they were confiscating Coartem from wholesale and retail pharmacies, as well as chemical vendors.

Patrick Lukulay, the director of the USAID DQI program, said that they were pleased with this “compelling example” of how the program was impacting the health of patients in Ghana. Lukulay also said that the case demonstrated “one of the key ways we hoped the [sentinel] sites would work—by becoming an integrated part of the local community that citizens would feel comfortable and confident going to with concerns.”

Photo links:

Photo of counterfeit anti-malarial confiscated in Ghana
Counterfeit anti-malarial drugs found in Ghana

Related sources:

Counterfeit antimalarial drug discovered in Ghana,” U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention. July 22, 2009.