Chloroquine inhibits the growth of susceptible malaria parasites at low (nanomolar) concentrations because of an energy-requiring drug-concentrating mechanism in the parasite secondary lysosome (food vacuole) which is dependent on the acidification of that vesicle. Chloroquine resistance results from another energy-requiring process: efflux of chloroquine from the resistant parasite with half-time of 2 min. Chloroquine efflux is inhibited reversibly by the removal of metabolizable substrate (glucose); it is also reduced by the ATPase inhibitor vanadate. These results suggest that chloroquine efflux is an energy-requiring process dependent on the generation and hydrolysis of ATP. Chloroquine efflux cannot be explained by differences in drug accumulation between chloroquine-susceptible and -resistant parasites because the 40-50-fold difference in initial efflux rates between -susceptible and -resistant parasites is unchanged when both parasites contain the same amount of chloroquine. Although chloroquine efflux is phenotypically similar to the efflux of anticancer drugs from multidrug-resistant (mdr) mammalian cells, it is not linked to either of the mdr-like genes of the parasite.