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U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention programs help combat fake drugs in Africa

Michelle Maskaly

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Central Drug Control Laboratory Yaba, Lagos became the third national quality control lab in Africa to achieve ISO 17025 accreditation with support from the “Promoting the Quality of Medicines” program.

The accreditation of the laboratory in Nigeria is particularly important, because Lagos is a primary port of entry for medicines, not just for Nigeria, but also for all of West Africa.

The USP has worked cooperatively with the United States Agency for International Development since 1992 in the “Promoting the Quality of Medicines” program to help developing countries address issues related to poor quality medicines, according to post on the groups’ blog, Quality Matters.

Fake medications are a serious problem across the world, with the International Policy Network estimating that 700,000 people die every year from just fake anti-malarial and tuberculosis drugs, according to the post.

“Pharmaceutical services is one of the pillars of the health care industry in Nigeria,” explained Dr. Paul Orhii, Director General of NAFDAC. “The ISO accreditation will support not only Nigeria’s own pharmaceutical industry, 80% of which are located in or around the commercial capital Lagos, it will help monitor the quality of imported products and help ensure that only safe, quality medicines are distributed to its nearly 170 million citizens. Plus, as an internationally accredited quality lab, NAFDAC CDCL can contribute to the quality of medicines in the entire region by serving as a reference laboratory for pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking WHO product prequalification.”

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