Medical researchers say a fake malaria drug is circulating throughout Southeast Asia and may spread to Africa.
A report published in an online medical journal the Public Library of Science Tuesday says a 23-year old man in Burma who was infected with malaria died because the medicine that he was given was counterfeit.
The researchers say counterfeit anti-malaria drugs are circulating on a vast scale in Southeast Asia. They say of the artesunate tablet "blister packs" they sampled, up to 52% did not contain the active ingredient needed to fight the disease.
The researchers warn that the counterfeit drug may also start circulating in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is widespread.
The international team of researchers is asking health organizations and clinics to do more to prevent the spread of the counterfeit drug.