By Danmaryam Zayamu
Plans have been concluded for over 35 African countries to meet in order to fashion out ways to end fake, substandard and adulterated drugs in the region.
The heads of quality control laboratories under the umbrella of African Medicine Quality Forum (AMQF) will converge on Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The meeting will be hosted by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), next week.
While briefing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed that meeting is aimed at reinforcing the importance of quality control laboratories in post marketing surveillance; strengthening regional/cross border collaborative survey of medicines in Africa as a means of protecting public health and familiarizing regional economic communities with instrumentation and analytical techniques to facilitate convergence for ensuring quality of medicines.
Other objectives of the meeting, she noted, include to complete the roadmap for strengthening National Quality Control Laboratories infrastructure and systems to help make informed, reliable and consistent regulatory decisions; emphasize the importance of Quality Control in the entire drug approval process: Manufacturing to Post-marketing; sensitize National Medicines Quality Control Laboratories on the importance of drafting laboratory strategic and business plan to ensure continual provision of Quality Control testing that meet international standards of quality and develop proposal to ensure that National Medicine Quality Control Laboratories have the required legal mandate and well-defined scope of activities.
The NAFDAC Director General recalled that the African Medicine Quality Forum (AMQF), “was established in 2017 as a Technical Working Group of African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) that is jointly domiciled at AUDA-NEPAD and World Health Organisation
(WHO), Geneva as joint secretariats.
“The goal is to build and strengthen the capacity of African countries in medicines quality control and regional post marketing surveillance which in turn, will contribute significantly to reducing sub-standard and falsified medical products in circulation in the African markets.
“AMQF is expected to drive the harmonization of Quality Control (QC) standards and practices and, ultimately the mutual recognition of QC tests among African countries.
“ It is a platform for a holistic continental quality control agenda that facilitates sharing of best practices, an advocacy platform to raise the national and international visibility of National Quality Control Laboratories ((NQCL)
“AMQF membership is open to heads of NQCLs from all African countries and formally reports to the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) Steering Committee.”
Dr. Adeyeye expressed optimism that at the end of the meeting, “the Heads of Quality Control Laboratories from the over 35 African countries would have achieved a clearer picture of the importance of the NQCLs and their convergence for collaborative reliance at the regional and continental levels.
“This realization will ensure that substandard, falsified and counterfeit drugs products will be reduced to a minimum.”