U.S. Pharmacopeia expands efforts to promote medicine quality in Asia Pacific

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Additional funding to strengthen national quality control laboratories in Cambodia and Laos

Rockville, Md., September 8, 2022 – The Regulatory Laboratory Capacity Strengthening (RLCS) program implemented by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has secured additional funding to enhance critical strengthening work in national quality control laboratories in Cambodia and Laos.

The RLCS program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other partners, aims to protect public health and build trust in the supply of safe, quality medicines in the region. The program is building capacity for testing the quality of COVID-19 therapeutics and personal protective equipment by establishing and operationalizing quality assurance and quality control systems. The program is delivering laboratory equipment calibration training in both national quality control laboratories to strengthen infectious disease testing capabilities which will bolster the region’s ability to respond to future infectious disease outbreaks.

Since September 2020, USP staff have supported their counterparts to develop and revise technical guidelines, manuals, and procedures; and facilitated theoretical and hands-on training to strengthen the capacity of laboratory staff. The program has also supported a regional learning exchange between laboratory staff from Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

The program is working hard to integrate gender and social inclusion principles in their work, recognizing the importance of drawing in diverse perspectives and experiences. The program is delivering on their commitment to advance gender equity in the workplace, with an impressive 60% of trainees over the period 2021-22 being female.

With DFAT funding, the RLCS program has been supporting Cambodia’s National Health Quality Control (NHQC) laboratory and Laos’ Food and Drug Quality Centre to attain international accreditation standards. Achievement of this accreditation will ensure more effective and timely testing of medicines which will reduce the risk of falsified medicines being sold on the market and increase patient trust in the safety of their medicines.

“Poor-quality medicines can lead to unnecessary harm or death,” said Gary Dahl, Director, Asia, Global Health Programs. “Our partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade combats this threat to public health by enriching laboratory capabilities to perform quality control and testing reliably and more sustainably. We remain committed to advancing global health by strengthening the systems that ensure access to quality-assured medicines and medical products.”