Recent successes in the fight against malaria are being undermined by the way counterfeit drugs have penetrated the supply chain in sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Asia. American researchers examined 4,000 anti-malaria drug samples from 28 countries and found that a third were fake.
The problem is that not only do they fail to protect the people who take them, but they can also lead to resistant strains appearing, and the researchers think the problem may be even worse than their findings suggest.
Death rates from malaria have fallen by more than a quarter since 2000, but more than 3 billion people in 106 countries are still at risk, and up to 1.2 million die every year.
There has been concern in recent years over the emergence of resistance to the most effective drugs in western Cambodia. (See also my blogs April 11, May 30, Sept 24, 2009 and Oct 21, 2010 and Sept 23, 2011.)