Oxfam Slams "Risky" Malaria Drug Distribution
Published: Oct 25, 2012
Oxfam has said that a scheme to provide improved access to malaria medicines is actually endangering lives and should be halted. The charity said that the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm), which is managed by The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is a “dangerous distraction from effective public health measures”, with drugs being distributed by unqualified shopkeepers rather than healthcare professionals. The scheme, set up in 2009 through nine pilots in eight countries in Africa, involves drug manufactures offering their malaria products at reduced rates in developing nations. The AMFm then subsidises the majority of this cost, so both private and public retailers in each nation can buy treatments at a fraction of their initial cost to then sell on to the general population. However, it is this use of the private sector to sell on malaria drugs that has caused concern for Oxfam, with the charity suggesting in its report Salt, Sugar and Malaria Pills that this includes ‘street vendors, market stall-holders and grocers – people without medical qualifications who are motivated by commercial interest, not public health outcomes’.