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International training to assist governments of 5 African nations in detecting poor-quality drugs
Date:4/18/2011

Rockville, Md., April 18, 2011 Scientists from the national laboratories of five African nations are gathering in Accra, Ghana, this week to take part in technical training that will provide them with improved capacity to detect substandard and counterfeit medicines. The trainingwhich will include participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Sierra Leoneis part of a larger Technical Assistance Program (TAP) announced earlier this year and funded by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), a nonprofit public health organization that sets standards for the identity, quality, purity and strength of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Under TAPwhich is currently a pilot program involving the five sub-Saharan African countries and Egypt but may be expanded in scopeUSP is providing a comprehensive package of pharmaceutical reference standards (very pure physical samples used as reference chemicals to test medicines), documentary standards (written specifications) and technical training to assist these countries in improving the quality of their medicines. Constrained by limited resources, the national laboratories in these nations may resort to using unreliable or outdated standards, and/or may not be equipped to offer their analysts the scientific training required to appropriately analyze medicines. As such, these laboratories may not obtain accurate results when they test questionable samplesa serious gap in quality assurance that can lead to severe health outcomes for patients, including prolonged disease and death. The USP-sponsored training being conducted this week will focus on three key topics necessary to appropriately test medicines qualityFundamentals of High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Microbiology and Effectively Using USPNF (USP's drug compendia).

In all of the participating nations, poor-quality medicines represent a significant public health challenge. In the host country of Ghana, for instance, a recent W
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Contact: Francine Pierson
fp@usp.org
301-816-8588
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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