US opens pharmaceutical training centre in Ghana to combat fake drugs

drugsThe United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has opened a centre in Ghana to train experts to combat the rising tide of substandard and counterfeit drugs in sub-Sahara Africa.

A press release issued by the US Embassy in Accra and copied to says the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT) has been launched in Accra, Ghana “in an effort to increase the number of experts and available tools to combat falsified, substandard and counterfeit medicines in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The centre it says is the beginning of a series of global health initiatives to equip national and local regulatory authorities and officers, quality assurance and quality control professionals, manufacturers, and others in the pharmaceutical industry with knowledge and skills to promote access to good quality medicines.

“The new center is being launched as a Commitment to Action through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).,” the release added.

The release noted that Ghanaians and many in sub-Saharan Africa currently face a serious problem when it comes to accessing quality medicines.

Citing a 2013 report on the quality of uterotonics (oxytocin and ergometrine) in Ghana, the release said it found that over 90 percent of the samples tested by USAID-USP Promoting the Quality of Medicines Program (PQM) failed either the test for the active ingredient or sterility, and only three of the 26 products tested were officially registered with the Ghana Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

The release also cited a 2010 study on the quality of anti-malarials in African countries, collaboratively conducted between the World Health Organization (WHO) and PQM, which revealed that 44 percent of the samples collected in Senegal failed to meet quality standards.

“In Madagascar and Uganda, 30 percent and 26 percent of the samples failed, respectively. These reports, and others, underscore the seriousness of the issue and the need for trained professionals to improve access to quality medicines, which CePAT hopes to help ensure,” it added.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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