Evaluation of the quality of amodiaquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine tablets sold by private wholesale pharmacies in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2003 Apr;28(2):117-22. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2710.2003.00470.x.


Objective: There are several independent reports in Tanzania of treatment failures with commercially available sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) brands. The aim of this work was to assess the quality of SP and AQ tablets marketed by wholesale pharmacies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methods: All eight wholesale pharmacies authorized to import medicines and located in Dar Es Salaam were included in the study. From each pharmacy, samples of all SP and AQ brands available at the time of sampling were bought, provided they had a shelf-life of at least 1 year. A sample was either an intact box of 100 tablets or a sealed tin of 100 tablets. To ensure blinding, 30 tablets of each sample were removed from their original containers, coded and sent to the quality control laboratory for analysis. The name, strength, batch number, manufacturer and the expiry dates of the tablets were recorded. In total 15 AQ and 18 SP samples were collected. Identity, assay for content of active ingredients and dissolution assay were performed as described in the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).

Results: All samples passed the identity test. Among the AQ samples collected, two of 15 (13%) failed the dissolution test but all passed the assay for content, whereas two of 18 (11%) and eight of 18 (44%) SP samples failed the assay for content and dissolution tests, respectively. None of the pharmacies stocked all AQ and SP brands.

Conclusion: This work reveals the availability of poor quality antimalarial drugs on the Tanzanian market. Use of substandard drugs could have serious clinical consequences to patients. The results support the need for continuous monitoring of the quality of marketed drugs to ensure safety and efficacy of these products in the treatment of malaria in endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amodiaquine / standards*
  • Antimalarials / standards*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Stability
  • Drug Storage
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / standards*
  • Pharmacies
  • Pyrimethamine / standards*
  • Quality Control*
  • Sulfadoxine / standards*
  • Tanzania


  • Antimalarials
  • Drug Combinations
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Amodiaquine
  • fanasil, pyrimethamine drug combination
  • Sulfadoxine
  • Pyrimethamine