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Home Industry News WHO calls for halt in single-drug artemisinin malaria treatment

WHO calls for halt in single-drug artemisinin malaria treatment

23rd January 2006

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked pharmaceutical companies to end the marketing and sale of ‘single-drug’ artemisinin malaria medicines.

The call comes over fears that malaria parasites may develop resistance to the drug.

The organisation, however, pointed out that when used correctly in combination with other anti-malarial drugs artemisinin is nearly 95 per cent effective in curing malaria and the parasite is highly unlikely to become drug resistant.

WHO director-general Dr Lee Jong-wook said: “It is critical that artemisinins be used correctly.

“We request pharmaceutical companies to immediately stop marketing single-drug artemisinin tablets and instead market artemisinin combination therapies only.

“The new treatment guidelines we are releasing today provide countries with clear and evidence-based direction on the best treatment options for malaria.”

When artemisinin is used alone it weakens, but not kills the parasite, so resistance to the treatment can be developed.

The WHO is also moving to hit back against counterfeit anti-malarial medicines, as up to a quarter of the medicine used in the developing world is thought to be counterfeit or sub-standard and in some areas of Asia and Africa half of medicines are thought to be fake.

The body will now strengthen its collaboration with international and national health and regulatory authorities.

track© Adfero Ltd

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