Successful GPHF-Minilab® training camp in Luanda
Frankfurt/Germany - November 22, 2012
Minilab will protect people of Angola from counterfeit drugs
A Minilab training and testing camp for 24 people has been established for one week at the General Health Inspectorate in Luanda, Angola, end of October. Participants came from six health inspectorates based in Angola’s provinces of Cabinda, Benguela, Zaire, Uige, Cunene and Namibe, and from the national medicines regulatory authorities, central drug procurement unit and business crime department. Samples were obtained from a customs enforcement operation spanning 16 African countries including Angola done by the World Customs Organization (WCO) back in July.
Using thin layer chromatographic test protocols provided by the GPHF-Minilab®, some illicit pharmaceuticals seized from sea containers in Luanda’s harbour passed drug content verification, some others not. Among the falsified products that contained no active pharmaceutical ingredients were copies of a popular anthelminthic brand and an antimalarial drug consisting of a combination of lumefantrine and artemether, the first-line treatment option for Malaria throughout Africa. It is an essential fixed-dose medicine and vital for survival when infected by malaria parasites. Producing copies of malaria medicines without any drug content is completely insane and a serious crime.
The training plus ten Minilabs for dissemination alongside Angola’s borders have been financed by Merck S.A. in Portugal, a subsidiary of Merck Darmstadt in Germany. In post-war, resource-rich Angola, so far, no drug testing laboratories is on the ground. Historically, samples were sent to labs in Portugal with response times six month or more. To protect its people and borders to the Congo, Zambia and Namibia against the influx of counterfeit medicines, Angola urgently needs to boost its drug testing and regulatory capacities. Based on the evidence of counterfeit activities from above, it is better to start today than tomorrow.