USP calls for continuous stakeholder collaboration on drug safety

BY: News Desk Report
Kwasi Poku Boateng (2nd from right),  Director of USP Ghana PQM+ West Africa, with Dr Mrs Amartey (2nd from left), Deputy FDA CEO, USAID and other officials
Kwasi Poku Boateng (2nd from right), Director of USP Ghana PQM+ West Africa, with Dr Mrs Amartey (2nd from left), Deputy FDA CEO, USAID and other officials

A not-for-profit medicine standards NGO, United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), has called for continuous stakeholder collaboration in Ghana’s medical product quality assurance sector to strengthen surveillance mechanisms.

This the organisation says is needed to ensure the quality of medicines on the Ghanaian market.

The Director of USP Ghana/PQM+ West Africa, Kwasi Poku Boateng, made the call at a workshop organised to disseminate the result of a risk-based post-market surveillance exercise.

Through the Promotion of Quality Medicines Plus (PQM+) programme, which is a cooperative agreement between USAID and USP to sustainably strengthen medical product quality assurance systems in low- and middle-income countries, the organisation with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the National Post Marketing Surveillance Technical Working Group and the Food and Drugs Authority to conduct post-marketing surveillance of Antimalarials and Maternal and Child Health medicines in Ghana in 2021.

The result of the exercise, according to Mr Boateng, shows that the technical collaboration between the relevant stakeholders and partners in the health sector is yielding positive results and highlighted some of the positive results.

“Through funding from USAID and with support from our partners we have worked with FDA Ghana to inaugurate a newly established PMS technical working group that serves as an instrument to plan and implement PMS activities,” Mr Boateng said.

The technical working group comprises representatives from FDA Ghana; national disease control programmes on malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV and AIDS; Expanded Programme on Immunisation; National Health Insurance Agency; Pharmacy Council; and Ghana Health Service

FDA data

Mr Boateng said the approach had enabled FDA Ghana to generate data on the current state of the quality of antimalarial and MNCH medicines in the country.”

He added that “we believe that it is in these technical collaborations that we can effectively tackle the gaps within our drug quality assurance mechanisms in Ghana”.

For her part, a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority in charge of Technical Operations Dr Akua Amartey, on behalf of the Chief Executive, commended the work of the National Post Marketing Surveillance Technical Working Group, adding that the work being done by the committee was key to FDA’s mandate in assessing the efficacy of medicines in a critical area such as maternal and child health.

“We inaugurated the Technical Working Group a year ago with its terms of reference being among other things to provide technical inputs, develop guidance documents and protocols for PMS activities in Ghana,” Dr Mrs Amartey remarked, adding that the dissemination of the report was an indication of the commitment of the parners to ensure that quality, safe and efficacious medical products were available to the Ghanaian public.

Participants in the workshop included representatives from the Ghana Health Service, National Malaria Control Programme, National Tuberculosis Programme, National AIDS Control Programme, Expanded Programme on Immunisation, regional health directorates, Pharmacy Council of Ghana, Global Health Supply Chain Programme - Procurement and Supply Management, Total Family Health Organisation.

Mitigating risk

Speaking on USAID’s support to the FDA and USP in the promotion of quality medicines, the USAID Health Population and Nutrition Office Director, Zohra Balsara, said to mitigate the risk of substandard and falsified medicines on the market USAID had worked with the FDA since 2009 to strengthen its internal processes and its regulatory systems, including its ability to ensure quality control of medicines.

The United States Pharmacopeia is a not-for-profit, scientific, standards-setting organisation that improves global health through public standards and related programmes that helps ensure the quality, safety and benefits of medicine and food.

For the past 200 years since its establishment, the organisation, through its global public health programmes has been strengthening health systems by providing technical assistance that improves access to quality assured medicines and protects patients from poor quality health products as well as support for workforce development.

The organisation has been involved with the drug and pharmaceutical sector of Ghana since 2009.