U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention Sets Up New Counterfeit Drug Detection Training Facility in Ghana

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Lukulay as a speaker at PSM’s 2013 Interchange, happening October 24th in Washington D.C. Register now to hear about the achievements of the U. S. Pharmacopeial Convention and Dr. Lukulay in combatting counterfeit medication in Africa.

In May 2013, the US Pharmacopeial Convention(USP) achieved their long-held goal of opening a counterfeit drug testing training center in the heart of sub-Sahara Africa, reports the Canadian Medical Association. Called the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT), it is located in Accra, Ghana.

The purpose of CePAT is to provide hands-on pharmaceutical quality-control training to African enforcement entities, and provide a state-of-the-art drug testing facility in the heart of Africa, according to the USP. Courses have already started, reports the USP.

Sub-Saharan Africa has serious counterfeit and substandard medicine problem. A 2013 report on the quality of uterotonics, medicines that prevent postpartum hemorrhage (oxytocin and ergometrine) in Ghana 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).

A 2010 study on the quality of anti-malarials in African countries, collaboratively conducted between the World Health Organization (WHO) and PQM, also found significant fail rates for samples in Senegal (44%), Madagascar (30%) and Uganda (26%). CePAT hopes to help improve the ability of Africans to find quality medication by training professionals to identify and remove fakes from the market.

Originally conceived by the USP, CePAT is the brain-child of Patrick Lukulay, PhD, Vice President of Global Health Impact Operations for the USP. In a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Dr. Lukulay explained his motivation for starting CePAT: “Serious public health issues related to poor quality medicines have been linked to lack of trained human resources, in countries with limited resources. With the center, we want to bring the opportunity to improve local quality assurance systems by training national regulatory agencies and quality control professionals so they can fight the problem of fake and substandard medicines in a sustainable way.”

By S. Imber