Though drug peddlers continue to roam the streets with substandard drugs and pharmaceutical implements which pose serious threats to the well-being of our society, the Sierra Leone Pharmacy Board (SLPB) is embarking on a massive withdrawal exercise of these drugs and substandard anti-malaria drugs.
According to SLPB’s drug information and medicines regulatory quarterly newsletter, “the product TRI-FECXIN oral suspension and tablets, with dihydroartemisinin as the active ingredient, does not meet certain quality specifications laid down by the board.”
As a consequence, a drug alert concerning this medication has been issued to health care personnel and the general public.
Every year malaria kills 1 to 2 million people, with 90% of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Sierra Leone, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity- accounting for 35% of all out patient visit to the hospitals and morbidity.
In 2000, mortality caused by malaria was estimated at 313 deaths per 10,000 patients. One child dies of malaria every 20 seconds and there is a malaria death every 12 seconds somewhere in the world.
Resistance to chloroquine now reaches 90% in many parts of Africa, with about 60% in Freetown and 79% in the rural eastern parts of the country. Thus, artemisinin derivatives including dihydroartemisinin, artesunate and the artesunate-amodiaquine combination have been recommended as first line treatments in the management of uncomplicated malaria.
By Ophaniel Gooding