Private pharmacies or shops are the source of 60% of the drugs bought to treat suspected cases of malaria. At the same time 59% of children fail to be treated within 24 hours of onset. The private sector is the primary source for antimalarials, but parents and carers are failing to administer those drugs sufficiently early to minimise morbidity and mortality.
This review focused on the way in which antimalarial drugs reach the patient. It also examined ways in which the delivery system could be improved and how the private facilities can become more effective sources of both drugs and advice. It has found that there are many problems with the way that drugs are distributed. Many unregistered drugs are readily available, and poor storage conditions are likely to reduce the efficacy of drugs even if they were of good quality at the time of manufacture. For many people the cost of even the cheapest antimalarial is an issue and purchase of part doses is common. The knowledge of the staff in pharmacies is poor and in shops woefully inadequate. Nonetheless most people use shops and private pharmacies as their source for drugs.
Malaria Consortium, London