Ghana set to use US FDA-developed hi-tech fake anti-malaria drug detective device

Antimalarial kitThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 24, 2013 launched a device to help identify counterfeit or substandard anti-malarial medicines, including falsified products.

Developed by FDA scientists, the counterfeit detection device known as CD-3 is set to be tested first in Ghana for two years.

“The effectiveness of the tool in detecting counterfeit or substandard versions of two common anti-malarial therapies will be tested in Ghana in 2013 and 2014,” said the US FDA in a statement.

According to the US agency, the US Pharmacopeia (USP) Promoting the Quality of Medicines Programme (PQM) is collaborating with the Ghana Food and Drug Authority to conduct drug surveillance programmes at test sites in Ghana, and the new partnership will leverage this existing infrastructure.

It adds “Information obtained from the test in Ghana is intended to guide a second testing programme, which will also make use of existing infrastructure from the PQM programme.”

The CD-3 is a handheld, battery-operated tool that illuminates a product with a variety of wavelengths of light to provide a visual comparison of an unverified product with an authentic sample. This allows inspectors to identify suspect products and remove them from the supply chain. Minimal scientific or technical background is needed to operate the tool, and it can be used even in remote communities or in places with only very basic health care systems.

“The development of the CD-3 and the formation of this important partnership are critical steps toward the FDA’s goal of improving the global product safety net in order to protect consumers in the US and worldwide,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

The US FDA stated that the partnership will focus on testing and optimizing the use of the handheld CD-3 in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia, where the agency believes the rates of malaria infection are high and where counterfeit anti-malarial medicines are prevalent.

By Ekow Quandzie

Video: How the CD-3 detects fake anti-malaria products

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