The Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board (PMPB) has assured Malawians that they can continue using Artemether Lumefantrine (LA) drugs since they do not cause kidney failure.
This follows social media claims that certain antimalarial drugs such as LA have been withdrawn from European Union market for causing kidney failure.
In a statement issued by the board and signed by its Acting Registrar Mphatso Kayawe, PMPB says the use of single active ingredient (monotherapy) antimalarial products such as those listed on social media post was phased out in the country in December 2007 following change of policy by Ministry of Health to adopt Artemisinin -based combination therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of Malaria.
According to the statement, the change of policy was not due to kidney failure but rather to avoid development of early resistance to monotherapy antimalarial drugs.
“In line with the malaria treatment policy change, The Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board ensures that only combination antimalarial products are registered for use in Malawi, except artesunate injection, artesunate suppository and quinine injection which may be used in special cases,” reads the statement.
“The antimalarial drug list in the social media post does not cover this scope and therefore, these drugs are not found on the Malawian market,” adds the statement.
Meanwhile, the board has assured Malawians that its inspectors are always vigilant in ensuring that all unregistered drugs including those listed on social media post are identified, seized and destroyed.
The board has asked the general public to report if any such drugs are found.
“We however wish to call on the general public to report to Pharmacy Board officers or call our Tips Anonymous hotline (847 for Airtel, TNM and Access users, and 8000847 for MTL users if you find any of the drugs listed on social media post,” reads the statement.