Partners in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) gathered in Bangkok during World Malaria Day on 25 April 2017. Representatives from National Medicine Regulatory Authorities in GMS countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations took part in a workshop on ‘Regulatory actions to counter substandard and falsified medicines’, sharing latest updates on technical approaches, achievements and lessons learned. The event was organized by the WHO Western Pacific (WPRO) and South East Asia (SEARO) Regional Offices.
Working together to end malaria
A large majority of anti-malarial medicines are produced in the Asia Pacific region and exported across the world. The products from the vast majority of manufacturers meet international pharmaceutical quality standards. However, if medicines are of substandard quality – or used incorrectly – it can create substantial risks of drug-resistant malaria.
“We need to work together to ensure substandard or falsified medicines are removed from the market. These medicines have the ability to negatively impact the real progress being made towards elimination of malaria in the GMS”, said Dr. Geoff Clark, Senior Strategic Health Advisor of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA).
To help manage these risks, representatives of APLMA Access Team, Geoff Clark, Marie Lamy and Paul Lalvani, attended the meeting to:
- meet with high-level representatives from National Medicine Regulatory Authorities from GMS countries to consider ways to reduce the risk of artemisinin-resistant malaria in the GMS region;
- discuss issues around the threat of substandard and falsified medicines to malaria elimination in the GMS and exchange best practices to address this threat;
- identify challenges to reduce the circulation of substandard and falsified medicines and to improve access to quality treatments for all;
- re-iterate the importance of regional collaboration and coordination of efforts to improve regulatory pathways for rapid access to quality antimalarial medicines. This will reduce the demand for cheaper, poor-quality medicines from unlicensed outlets.
“By improving regulatory pathways, we can reduce the demand for poor-quality, cheap alternatives to quality anti-malarial medicines”, said Marie Lamy, Senior Associate, Service and Access of APLMA.