More than a third of the malaria-fighting drugs tested over the past decade in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were either fake or bad quality, seriously undermining efforts to fight the disease, a study said Tuesday.
With up to 1 million people - mostly children in Africa - already dying every year from malaria, bogus drugs and those containing the wrong chemical makeup could upend a decade of progress fighting the mosquito-transmitted disease, the US-funded review said.
International efforts to combat drug counterfeiting - much of it believed to take place in China - are urgently needed.
Fake drugs with no malaria-fighting agents can lead to deaths. Those containing some active ingredients - but not enough to fully kill all parasites - are also problematic because they promote resistance that can eventually outsmart medicines.