USP Drug Quality Pilot Program Underway in Sub-Saharan Africa

Apr 21, 2011
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On Apr. 18, 2011, scientists from the national laboratories of five African nations gathered in Accra, Ghana, to take part in a week of technical training put on by the US Pharmacopeia (USP) that will teach them how to detect substandard and counterfeit medicines.

USP is providing participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and Sierra Leone with pharmaceutical reference standards, documentary standards, and technical writing training in an effort to improve help the quality of those countries’ medicines.  The instruction is a part of a pilot Technical Assistance Program (TAP) that was introduced earlier this year and funded by USP.

USP developed TAP based on feedback from participants about topics they wanted to see addressed most.  National laboratories in these countries often have to rely on unreliable or outdated standards to analyze medicines. The laboratories also may not be equipped to offer analysts the scientific training needed to appropriately analyze medicines.

As a result, accurate outcomes may not be obtained when questionable substances are tested. “Having a team of scientists trained in essential analytical techniques is a fundamental aspect of a well-functioning regulatory system that protects domestic drug supply,” said Patrick Lukulay, director of the PQM program in a USP press release.

The objective of the training is to improve the technical competence of the scientists and familiarize participants with information contained in the USP-NF, including how to use the information, according to the USP release.