via Zim to open world class medicines quality control lab | The Zimbabwean 19 September 2014
A new medicines quality control centre is set to be established in Harare following approval by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The development is hoped to help Zimbabweans “gain access to better medicines”, according to a WHO-Zimbabwe statement issued today.
“The approval, which follows a thorough assessment by WHO, means that the laboratory operates in compliance with international standards and can carry out quality tests on medicines purchased by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria as well as by other large purchasers of medicines for developing countries, such as UNICEF,” said WHO.
“It also sends a strong message to local and importing manufacturers that their medicines will be tested according to international standards, thereby potentially improving the quality of their products and patient treatments,” added the organisation.
Kees De Joncheere, the director of essential medicines at WHO, said building capacity for health professionals and public structures was vital to prepare countries to cater for populations health needs.
The lab that falls under the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) is the sixth institution to get WHO pre-qualification in sub-Saharan Africa.
The prequalification process included training to raise performance to international standards. David Okello, the WHO Representative in Zimbabwe, hailed the development.
“In essence, it means that when the Global Fund buys millions of dollars’ worth of medicines for Southern African countries, it can rely on the Zimbabwean laboratory to assist in ensuring the medicines are safe and effective.
“Without this kind of service, lives would be placed at risk and precious donor funds could be wasted,” he said. The Global Fund helps combat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria.
WHO noted, however, that even though its approval of medicines boosted drugs’ quality reputation, it did not guarantee that specific batches of products adhered to required manufacturing procedure.
“If quality problems arise with batches of prequalified products once they reach the country of destination, the local prequalified laboratories are alerted and check the product; if non-compliance is found, they can facilitate corrective measures and thus avert possible risks to patients,” stated WHO.