[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite considerable efforts, malaria is still one of the most devastating infectious diseases in the tropics. The rapid spread of antimalarial drug resistance currently compounds this grim picture. In this paper, we review the history of antimalarial drug resistance and the methods for monitoring it and assess the current magnitude and burden of parasite resistance to two commonly used drugs: chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Furthermore, we review the factors involved in the emergence and spread of drug resistance and highlight its public health importance. Finally, we discuss ways of dealing with such a problem by using combination therapy and suggest some of the research themes needing urgent answers.