08 November 2013
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a drug alert about falsified batches of Coartem being circulated in Cameroon. Coartem is a fixed dose artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) used to treat malaria. The counterfeit batches were discovered recently in hospitals and street markets.
The WHO alert is an update to an earlier warning issued in May 2013 concerning counterfeit Coartem circulating in Central and Western Africa, partly informed by intelligence derived from the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF). This task force, made up of the Global Fund's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), USAID OIG and UNDP's Office of Audits and Investigations, tracks the theft, diversion, and counterfeiting of Global Fund and USAID-funded medicines.
At least four batches have been identified of which some (NOF 2153, F2929 and F2261) bear the green leaf logo of the Affordable Medicines Facility- malaria program, financed by the Global Fund. The numbers of all the counterfeit batches can be found in the WHO drug alerts here .
The relevant Global Fund country teams as well as national Drug Regulatory Authorities have been alerted and the OIG is working closely with its core JIATF partner USAID, as well as with pharmaceutical company Novartis, to build up intelligence on counterfeit drugs entering the supply chain.
The Office of the Inspector General works to ensure that the Global Fund invests the world's money in the most effective way possible in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through audits, investigations, oversight and consultancy work, it makes objective and transparent recommendations to promote good practice, reduce risk and condemn abuse.
Established in 2005, the Office of the Inspector General is an independent yet integral part of the Global Fund. It is accountable to the Board through its Audits and Ethics Committee and serves the interests of all Global Fund stakeholders. Its work conforms to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the Uniform Guidelines for Investigations of the Conference of International Investigators.
The Office of the Inspector General believes that every dollar counts and has zero tolerance for fraud, corruption and waste. Through its whistle-blowing channels, the Office of the Inspector General encourages all to come forward to point out any irregularities that prevent Global Fund resources from reaching those who need them.