Medical Researchers: Fake Malaria Drug Spreading in Southeast Asia

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 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 percent 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.