Global health experts launch new USAID program to strengthen medical product quality assurance systems in LMICs

In low- and middle-income countries, an estimated one in ten medical products are substandard or falsified, potentially putting millions of people at risk of harm. The Promoting the Quality of Medicines Plus (PQM+) program, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), works to improve the quality of essential medical products in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to help prevent and treat diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, and to improve maternal, newborn, and child health.

PQM team

PQM+, which is led by U.S. Pharmacopeia, brought together global health experts and its full consortium of program partners earlier this year to discuss approaches to sustainably strengthening medical product quality assurance systems. More than 70 people participated in the launch event, including Kelly Saldaña, the Director of USAID’s Office of Health Systems, as well as representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization.

The program launch was followed by a two-day intensive technical workshop for PQM+ partners to explore challenges and opportunities for strengthening LMIC medical product quality assurance systems while increasing workforce and institutional capacity to contribute to ensuring sustainability.

PQM+ strengthens medical product quality assurance systems to help ensure the quality of products circulating in global and local markets. The program collaborates with national and regional organizations to improve medical product quality assurance systems and to develop specialized, local expertise where it is needed most. In particular, the program strengthens governance and regulatory structures, optimizes the allocation and use of resources, improves the supply of quality-assured medical products, and advances the global learning, policy, and operational agenda for medical product quality assurance system strengthening.

The PQM+ consortium’s core partners are IntraHealth International, IQVIA Government Solutions, Panagora Group, and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The consortium also includes six core field-led extension (core-FLEX) partners that bring on-the-ground specialized expertise in Africa and Asia. Through PQM+, these partners will receive tailored capacity building support to increase the pool of local highly qualified medical product quality assurance experts, supporting USAID’s goal of self-reliance for partner countries and institutions.

The Core-FLEX partners are:

  • Addis Ababa University School of Pharmacy Regional Bioequivalence Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Association of Southeast Asian Nations Network for Drugs, Diagnostics and Vaccines Innovation in Taguig City, Philippines
  • Center for Drug Discovery, Development and Production in Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Mahidol University Center for Analysis of Product Quality in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Nine technical resource partners also offer expertise in areas including medical product regulatory science, quality of medical devices, risk-based approaches, advocacy, research and data analysis, and continuous quality improvement.

PQM+ uses proven and cutting-edge approaches to support countries worldwide in responding to the evolving medical product quality landscape. The program is already active or preparing to start work in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, and Central Asia. For more information, please contact Jude Nwokike, PQM+ Program Director,