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Merck donates Minilabs to Côte d’Ivoire

Merck Germany, a leading science and technology company, donated two GPHF-minilabs to Côte d’Ivoire supporting their fight against counterfeit medicines. The handing over of the donation took place during the opening of Merck’s new affiliate office in Abidjan. The donation ceremony was graced by The First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominique Claudine Ouattara and H.E. Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr. Raymonde Goudou Coffie.

The GPHF-Minilab™ is a mobile mini-laboratory that helps in the detection of counterfeit medicines with simple but reliable test methods for rapid drug quality verification. Thru the donation of Merck the minilab now is available in Côte d’Ivoire for the first time. Approximately 800 Minilabs have been supplied to health facilities worldwide so far.


Once again the GPHF-Minilab™ unmasks a fake drug

Thanks to the GPHF-Minilab once again a fake drug was identified. In Cameroon, staff members of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) discovered a so-called antimalarial medicine without any active ingredient. Investigations have also shown that the named manufacturer does not exist. Recently the EPN has already ensured fake antimalarial medicines in the DR-Congo. Meanwhile the World Health Organization has published an official Medical Product Alert. For more information please see here.

Fake antimalarial medicines with zero quinine content found in Cameroon.


Plea for the use of the GPHF-Minilab™

For the first time at Tübingen University’s Institute of Pharmacy the course “Pharmacy in Development Cooperation and Emergency Aid” has begun. The course is intended for pharmacy students and registered pharmacists. Professor Lutz Heide (Tübingen) noted in this context, that counterfeit drugs are serious problem in many development countries. He pleaded for the use of analytical methods by which the quality of drugs could be verified also under difficult conditions. According to Professor Heide, the Minilab of the Global Pharma Health Fund, which is also used during the course, is ideally suited for this purpose.

At the University Tübingen the participants of the course “Pharmacy in Development Cooperation and Emergency Aid” learn how to handle the GPHF-Minilab™ too. (Picture: University Tübingen)


Minilab training in the East African Community

For the first time, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) conducted a training course on the GPHF-MinilabTM for the member states of the East African Community (EAC). Onset this month, in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, GPHF representative Dr. Richard Jähnke trained staff from medicines regulatory and inspection agencies from five EAC countries. The GPHF-Minilab, a mobile lab to identify counterfeit drugs, was developed by the GPHF and is already used in more than 90 countries worldwide. Around 170 million people live in the member states of the EAC, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan. The cooperation in the health care sector and the harmonization of related regulations facilitating access to quality-assured medicines is one of the tasks of the EAC. In this context, an important role will be played by the GPHF-Minilab, too. For more information please see here.

Richard Jähnke (PhD) and the participants of the Minilab training course in Kigali.


Anniversary: GPHF-Minilab™ No. 750 will be delivered

The Global Pharma Health Fund e. V. (GPHF) is proud to announce that its 750th minilab for the detection of counterfeit drugs will be delivered in the next days. The distribution partner of the GPHF, Technologie Transfer Marburg (TTM), delivers the mobile lab first to Belgium, but the final destination of the lab will be the East African Rwanda. In Rwanda the minilab becomes part of a comprehensive project for the education and training of health technicians in the East African Community (EAC). This project is largely supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the framework of a new specific initiative for Africa. In this context the Federal Institute of Physical Technology in Braunschweig (PTB) – as implementing organisation - has already ordered eight minilabs for the future use in Rwanda. The place of use of all the minilabs will be a new training center at the University of Rwanda in Kigali where training courses for the member states of the EAC are being planned. Dr. Richard Jähnke from the GPHF will travel to Rwanda soon for an initial central training session on the use of the GPHF-Minilab.


First Minilab training mission in Zambia

For the first time, the GPHF carried out a training session on its GPHF-MinilabTM in Zambia. Teachers from the University of Zambia in Lusaka and staff from medicines regulatory and drug inspection have been trained in the use of the mobile laboratory by Dr. Richard Jähnke from the GPHF for one week end of last month. In the future the GPHF-Minilab should become part of the professional training of pharmacy students and pharmaceutical technicians at the University. As many countries in Africa, Zambia is affected by counterfeit drugs, too. Due to the integration of the Minilab into university education on industry pharmacy the responsible authorities hope for an improvement of the current situation. The establishment of an industry pharmacy course at the University of Zambia is supported by several multilateral medicines supply chain and quality assurance programmes maintained by the U.S. Agency for International development. For more information please see here.

The end of a successful week: Minilab training in Zambia.


Tanzania: Assistant pharmacists will be trained on the GPHF-Minilab™

Through the donation of four minilabs and accompanying training sessions last year the GPHF supported a project on the education of assistant pharmacists in Tanzania. The training on the GPHF-Minilab™ to detect counterfeit drugs now has become part of the official curriculum for assistant pharmacists in Tanzania too. The engagement of the GPHF in Tanzania is part of a larger project aiming the training of assistant pharmacists which is run by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the companies Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer and various clerical organizations.


GPHF-Minilab™ now capable of testing 80 drug compounds

Once again the GPHF has extended the applications of his minilab to detect counterfeit drugs. The mobile unit now is capable of testing 80 drug compounds. The method extension includes five more antibiotics. The GPHF-Minilab, already used in more than 90 countries, offers a quick, reliable and cost-effective way to detect counterfeit drugs. For more information please see here.


Minilab Training in Kenya

GPHF Project Manager Dr. Jähnke carried out a training session on the GPHF-Minilab™ in Kenya last week. Within the scope of an international program to promote the quality of medicine 28 pharmacists have been trained in the use of the minilab. Kenya’s drug regulatory authority expressed its interest in institutionalizing the use of Minilabs in many regions of the country. For more information please see here.

Dr. Jähnke explaining the use of the GPHF-Minilab™.


Minilab Detects Falsified Tablets Circulating in Cameroon

During a recent medicines quality survey in Cameroon, a batch of falsified Clomid 50 mg tablets missing more than 90% of the active pharmaceutical ingredient have been detected using Minilabs of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) designed for rapid medicine quality verification. For more information please see here.

Spurious “Clomid 50 mg” batch missing 90% of its active pharmaceutical ingredient clomifene citrate. (Picture:


GPHF-Minilab detect counterfeit antibiotics

With the GPHF-MinilabTM users from the Ecumenical Pharnaceutical Netweork (EPN) now detect counterfeit antibiotics in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa. The counterfeit medicines contain no active pharmaceutical ingredient and represent a serious health risk. For more information please see here.

Counterfeit antibiotics detected by the GPHF-Minilab in Congo. (Picture: DIFÄM)


Minilab Capacity Building in Angola

Twenty-two staff from the Angolan medicine regulatory authority, drug inspectorate, central medical store and the national malaria programme completed a training on the use of the Minilab basic tests and the operational framework for implementing a nationwide drug quality monitoring programme in Luanda, the capital of Angola, last week. For more information please see here.

Minilab training course in Lunada, Angola.


Minilab Workshop in Tanzania

Since 2014 the GPHF has a particularly strong engagement in Tanzania to improve pharmaceutical service. Apart from the donation of four Minilabs to pharmaceutical schools in Tanzania, a special workshop for the teachers of these schools was conducted now in Dar es Salaam. The workshop, focused on the proper use of the Minilab to protect consumers against the use of poor-quality and falsified medicines, was led by GPHF-Project Manager Dr. Richard Jähnke. The engagement of the GPHF in Tanzania is part of a public-private development partnership between the Tanzanian public health authorities and the German agency for international cooperation (GIZ) together with the pharmaceutical companies Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck. For more information please see here.


The use and need for GPHF-Minilabs

Recently, the concept and performance of the GPHF-Minilab was challenged twice. One study assessed the capabilities of countries in the East African Union to perform and manage post-marketing medicines quality studies overall and another study verified the quality of antimalarial medicines sold in the Gabonese retail market. In the first study sponsored by the federal agency for physical testing in Germany, a general implementation of GPHF-Minilabs to compliment the work of existing national drug quality control laboratories, or to start testing first time, is much desirable and runs like a red thread through the entire paper. A direct confirmation that GPHF-Minilabs are able to deliver promptly reliable data for post-marketing surveillance studies was then obtained by using them in Gabon. According to this study, the good news is that the prevalence of poor-quality anti-malarial drugs is far lower than anticipated and the bad news is that if fake anti-malarial pills were found they contained little more than starch and were truly fatal when consumed by patients suffering malaria.


No positive shift on counterfeit drugs

Based on an investigation in 115 countries worldwide INTERPOL once again confirmed that counterfeit medicines are a global issue. The operation focused on the illicit sale of medicines and medical devices promoted and sold via the Internet. A record number of medicines worth about an 81 million US dollars have been seized. French authorities named the growing number of counterfeit drugs “a silent epidemic” and issued a very informative publication on this matter.


GPHF-Minilab™: First training in Afghanistan

For the first time a training course on the GPHF-Minilab™ took place in Afghanistan. The training was carried out by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in cooperation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health. For more information please see here.


100.000 children die due to fake medicines

According to recent information of the American Journal of Tropical Medicne and Hygiene over a 1000.000 children annually die on the consumption of counterfeit antimalarial medicines containing the wrong, to little or no active pharmaceutical ingredient. Alreday in April the magazine published a global study on fake medicines. For more information please see here.


Further six Minilabs for Ethiopia

Shortly, six more GPHF-Minilabs will go to Ethiopia in East Africa. They will complement the work of the national medicines control authority and are donated by the “Promoting the Quality of Medicines” programme run jointly by USP (United States Pharmacopeial Convention) and USAID. After their arrival, the Minilabs will be disseminated to several regional drug control offices and thus help in reducing the workload on the central level. Since ten years, USP and GPHF are partnering in their fight against counterfeit medicines. For example, last year, GPHF Project Manager Dr. Jähnke supported the ongoing efforts and run an extra Minilab training course in the country. Globally, in the past ten years, the USP/USAID “Promoting the Quality of Medicines” programme donated 180 Minilabs already.


Friederike Segeberg new chairperson of the GPHF

At the annual meeting of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) Friederike Segeberg was elected as the new chairperson of the charitable organization. She succeeds Frank Gotthardt, who now serve as Vice Chairman besides Dr. Walter Huber. The board of the GPHF is completed by Treasurer Stefan D. Schröder.


GPHF-Minilab™ identifies fake malaria pills in Malawi

Due to the GPHF-Minilab™ counterfeit antimalarial medicines were identified in Malawi. Sold by illegal street vendors the falsified products contained none of the declared active pharmaceutical ingredient. These counterfeit medicines represent a serious health risk to the Malawian population. For more information please see here.

Fake malaria pills identified by the GPHF-Minilab™ in Malawi.


GPHF-Minilabs for Tanzania

For the advancement of pharmaceutical services in Tanzania, the German association of researched-based pharmaceutical manufacturers announced a trio partnership among some of their member companies, the public German International Cooperation and the faith-based development sector in Berlin this week. The Minilab developed by the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) will play an essential part of the vocational capacity building project for pharmaceutical technicians. It will help in assuring access to quality medicines even in rural Tanzania and protect consumers against the use of poor-quality and falsified medicines. The dispatch of four Minilabs is combined with an appropriate training at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam.


Minilab training in Burundi

Onset February this year, more than ten people have been trained in the use of the Minilab at the LifeNet health care centre of Bujumbura (Burundi). The training was run by Nyaah Ngoh Fidelis, a pharmacist from the health service of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. The Minilab was donated by the German Institute for Medical Mission, a faith-based organisation run by Protestant doctors in Tübingen. For more information please see here.

The Minilab manual shows the way to proceed.


Minilab Method Extension: Five more test protocols supplied

The Minilab’s method inventory has now been extended to overall 75 drug compounds. New and old Minilab users will clearly benefit from this performance improvement, for example the identification and content verification of more essential cardiovascular medicines. Appropriate reference standards are supplied. Beyond this, the Minilab’s technical platform stays unchanged and can fully manage the new five arrivals atenolol, bisoprolol, captopril, hydrochlorothiazide and clomifene. The new supplements are available in English, French and Spanish. For more information please see here.

The new supplements are available
in English, French and Spanish.


E-learning course on fake medicines

The Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) is now offering an e-learning programme on fake medicines helping consumers to understand the difference between falsified, counterfeit and substandard medicines permanently floating the global markets in disturbing quantities. With every passing day, men, women and children, even yourself and family members can become a victim of counterfeit medicines. Increase your knowledge, get protected and start the training now at


GPHF donates minilabs to Madagascar

To prevent people from counterfeit drugs the GPHF once again donated two of his minilabs, this time to Madagascar. The picture shows GPHF Chairman Frank Gotthardt (right) during the handing-over of the minilabs to the Malagasy Prime Minister Roger Kolo (centre) being also the Minister of Health in the country. For more information please see here.

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