[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 1998 the serious public health problem in South East Asia of counterfeit artesunate, containing no or subtherapeutic amounts of the active antimalarial ingredient, has led to deaths from untreated malaria, reduced confidence in this vital drug, large economic losses for the legitimate manufacturers, and concerns that artemisinin resistance might be engendered.
With evidence of a deteriorating situation, a group of police, criminal analysts, chemists, palynologists, and health workers collaborated to determine the source of these counterfeits under the auspices of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Western Pacific World Health Organization Regional Office. A total of 391 samples of genuine and counterfeit artesunate collected in Vietnam (75), Cambodia (48), Lao PDR (115), Myanmar (Burma) (137) and the Thai/Myanmar border (16), were available for analysis. Sixteen different fake hologram types were identified. High-performance liquid chromatography and/or mass spectrometry confirmed that all specimens thought to be counterfeit (195/391, 49.9%) on the basis of packaging contained no or small quantities of artesunate (up to 12 mg per tablet as opposed to approximately 50 mg per genuine tablet). Chemical analysis demonstrated a wide diversity of wrong active ingredients, including banned pharmaceuticals, such as metamizole, and safrole, a carcinogen, and raw material for manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('ecstasy'). Evidence from chemical, mineralogical, biological, and packaging analysis suggested that at least some of the counterfeits were manufactured in southeast People's Republic of China. This evidence prompted the Chinese Government to act quickly against the criminal traders with arrests and seizures.
An international multi-disciplinary group obtained evidence that some of the counterfeit artesunate was manufactured in China, and this prompted a criminal investigation. International cross-disciplinary collaborations may be appropriate in the investigation of other serious counterfeit medicine public health problems elsewhere, but strengthening of international collaborations and forensic and drug regulatory authority capacity will be required.
PLoS Medicine 03/2008; 5(2):e32. · 15.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vietnam is one of the countries in the world most affected by soil-transmitted helminthiases. Large areas of the country, such as the Northern Uplands and the North and Central Coast, are reported as having infection rates of 75-85% for Ascaris lumbricoides, 38-40% for Trichuris trichiura and 27-28% for hookworm infections. Periodical deworming of schoolchildren is therefore strongly recommended. Managers of the Helminth Control Programme decided to apply a number of measures to improve cost efficiency in order to deworm as many schoolchildren as possible with the limited financial resources available. This low-cost intervention targeted over 2.7 million schoolchildren. Coverage was estimated at over 95% and the cost for each treated child was US$ 0.03, which represents a saving of approximately 50% of costs presently reported in the literature. This article describes the measures applied that resulted in cost containment but maintained high treatment coverage.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 06/2007; 101(5):461-4. · 1.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Cambodia, schistosomiasis is transmitted in the provinces of Kratie and Stung Treng where approximately 80000 individuals are estimated to be at risk of infection. The baseline prevalence of infection was estimated to be between 73% and 88%, and cases of severe morbidity (hepatosplenomegaly, puberty retardation) and mortality were very common. In 1994, the Ministry of Health of Cambodia started schistosomiasis control applying universal chemotherapy with praziquantel (40mg/kg). The coverage of the programme was between 62% and 86% for 8 years. This simple control measure resulted in the control of the disease: no cases were reported in 2004 and only three cases were reported in 2005. In addition, there are no longer reports of cases of severe morbidity due to schistosomiasis. Since the beginning of the control programme, a single dose of mebendazole (500mg) has been combined with praziquantel during the mass chemotherapy; as a result the prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworms dropped from 74.5% to 10% and from 86% to 40% respectively. The experience in Cambodia demonstrates that, with political commitment, control of parasitic diseases is achievable even in a situation of minimal resources. The programme represents a successful model for other developing countries.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 02/2007; 101(1):34-9. · 1.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pig production has increased significantly worldwide in recent years. Small-scale pig husbandry has become a popular source of income in rural and resource-poor communities in most of developing countries. A parallel increase of human Taenia carrier and human cysticercosis is expected but detailed data are not available. However, Taenia solium is considered responsible for over 10% of acute case admission to the neurological ward of countries where it is endemic. The control strategy that seems at the moment more promising is a combination of the different tools available and includes the identification of areas at high risk and the presumptive treatment of the suspected cases and their families. This active finding and treatment of probable tapeworm carriers should be accompanied by health education and control swine cysticercosis. WHO invites all endemic countries to recognize the importance of taeniasis/cysticercosis control and to collect epidemiological data and to adopt policies and strategies for its control.
Parasitology International 02/2006; 55 Suppl:S301-3. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2002, Cambodia's Ministry of Health launched a deworming programme to deliver an anthelmintic drug (mebendazole 500 mg) and health education to 75% of its school children twice a year. Cambodia's school population is approximately 2.8 million. The deworming programme was organized into two phases: the first phase (December 2002-March 2003) targeted more than one million school children from 11 provinces; and the second phase (July 2003-January 2004) targeted the entire school population. The cost to treat each child was 12 cents (0.11 USD) during the first phase, 6 cents during the second phase, and 3 cents for re-treatment in areas where the campaign was conducted for the second time. The Cambodian experience demonstrates that, with political commitment, high coverage for deworming is achievable even in a country with minimal resources. Cambodia's deworming programme represents a successful model for other developing countries.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 10/2005; 99(9):664-8. · 1.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an expansion of the first Mekong Malaria monograph published in 1999, this second monograph updates the malaria database in the countries comprising the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. The update adds another 3 years' information to cover cumulative data from the 6 Mekong countries (Cambodia, China/Yunnan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam) for the six-year period 1999-2001. The objective is to generate a more comprehensive regional perspective in what is a global epicenter of drug resistant falciparum malaria, in order to improve malaria control on a regional basis in the context of social and economic change. The further application of geographical information systems (GIS) to the analysis has underscored the overall asymmetry of disease patterns in the region, with increased emphasis on population mobility in disease spread. Of great importance is the continuing expansion of resistance of P. falciparum to antimalarial drugs in common use and the increasing employment of differing drug combinations as a result. The variation in drug policy among the 6 countries still represents a major obstacle to the institution of region-wide restrictions on drug misuse. An important step forward has been the establishment of 36 sentinel sites throughout the 6 countries, with the objective of standardizing the drug monitoring process; while not all sentinel sites are fully operational yet, the initial implementation has already given encouraging results in relation to disease monitoring. Some decreases in malaria mortality have been recorded. The disease patterns delineated by GIS are particularly instructive when focused on inter-country distribution, which is where more local collaborative effort can be made to rationalize resource utilization and policy development. Placing disease data in the context of socio-economic trends within and between countries serves to further identify the needs and the potential for placing emphasis on resource rationalization on a regional basis. Despite the difficulties, the 6-year time frame represented in this monograph gives confidence that the now well established collaboration is becoming a major factor in improving malaria control on a regional basis and hopefully redressing to a substantial degree the key problem of spread of drug resistance regionally and eventually globally.
The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health 02/2003; 34 Suppl 4:1-102. · 0.61 Impact Factor