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Counterfeit malaria treatment medication in Africa

07 Jan 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a medical alert about falsified (fake) medication called COMBIART circulating in Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, and Mali. COMBIART is a medication which is used to treat people with malaria

Advice for Travellers

Substandard and falsified (counterfeit) medical products are a growing problem that occurs throughout the world. A wide range of counterfeit medicines are available, including antimalarials, antibiotics, blood pressure medicine and vaccines. Life saving medicines used for the prevention and treatment of malaria are often subject to counterfeiting in countries where malaria is a serious risk.

If during travel, you require medication for a new illness or condition, you should:

  • only purchase medicines from a reputable pharmacy or medical facility whilst you are abroad and always obtain a receipt
  • inspect packaging closely for signs of poor-quality printing, spelling or labelling, which may suggest counterfeiting
  • avoid obtaining medicines from people or suppliers which are not linked to a reputable pharmacy or medical facility

If you take regular or intermittent medications, you should obtain these in the UK before you travel, especially if there is any cause for concern about the legitimacy of medications or medical products at your destination. This includes if you are recommended to take antimalarial medicines.

Whenever possible, you should take sufficient supplies of your medicines with you to cover the duration of your trip, including a little extra to cover potential delays.

In the event that you may need to purchase medicines abroad (for example, if your trip is extended, your medicines are lost or stolen or your planned itinerary is changed) then, in addition to the advice above, you should:

  • carry a copy of your prescription with you which should include both the generic and brand names of any medicines you are taking.  This also applies for any prescribed antimalarial medicines you are taking.
  • ask the pharmacist about the active ingredient in the medicine you are purchasing and check that it is the same as your own medicine

See the fitfortravel Counterfeit Medicines and Travelling with Medicines pages for further information.