July 24, 2023, Accra, Ghana – This month, USP Ghana donated several pieces of essential medical laboratory equipment to the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and four public institutions, including the University of Ghana Pharmacy School, to strengthen national regulatory and laboratory systems, better detect poor-quality medical products in circulation, and improve risk-based post-marketing surveillance.
The physico-chemical laboratory equipment donated to Ghana FDA, included high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatology (GC) devices, which are instrumental in detecting unsafe, poor-quality medical products. Importantly, the GC expands Ghana FDA’s testing capabilities to identify diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG) contamination in pediatric cough syrup.
“This equipment donation comes at a critical time for West Africa, after some children’s cough syrups were found to be substandard in the region,” said Dr. Delese Mimi Darko, Ghana FDA’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this new laboratory equipment, Ghana will be able to better analyze and detect poor-quality medicines to protect patients.”
Over the past year, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued several medical product alerts and an urgent call to action regarding contaminated children's cough syrup found in nine countries across three continents, including in The Gambia, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and other countries.
The circulation of substandard and falsified medicines, like those that led to the deaths of more than 300 infants and children worldwide caused by unsafe cough syrups, underscores the far-reaching impact of poor-quality products that can infiltrate the complex global medicine supply chain.
Strengthening national and regional regulatory systems, building more resilient supply chains, and improving quality testing of raw materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and inactive ingredients (i.e., excipients) are all key to protecting patients from poor-quality medicines.
USP is currently providing technical guidance and support to Ghana FDA through the Promoting the Quality of Medicines Plus (PQM+) program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Areas of collaboration include providing guidance and technical assistance to Ghana FDA as it works to attain WHO Maturity Level 4 status, expanding post marketing surveillance using a risk-based approach, and strengthening its regulatory functions to enable effective oversight of vaccines and locally produced products.
Globally, USP has partnered with national regulatory authorities in more than 65 countries to strengthen regulatory systems that help assure access to safe, quality medical products.
Download USP’s diethylene glycol (DEG)/ethylene glycol (EG) toolkit
Read more about Ghana FDA’s global laboratory accreditation
Read more about Ghana FDA’s risk-based post-marketing surveillance
Read WHO’s call to action and product alerts
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USP is an independent, scientific non-profit organization focused on building trust in the supply of safe, quality medicines. We are working to strengthen the global supply chain so that the medicines people rely on are available when needed and work as expected. USP has 14 offices across 16 countries and has implemented global health programs in 90+ countries worldwide.