Chloroquine tablets

Medicine Quality

The Medicine Quality Scientific Group is sharing expertise and collating information to increase our understanding of the prevalence and distribution of poor-quality medicines around the world.

Poor quality medicines - both falsified and substandard - of commonly used antimalarials are frequently found. The consequences include prolonged sickness, treatment failure, side effects, loss of income, increased healthcare costs and death. These medicines may contain sub-therapeutic amounts of artemisinin derivatives, such as artesunate, but usually contain no malaria medication at all. Inadequate dosing has serious implications for worsening antimalarial resistance.

Poor antimalarial quality is a key factor amongst those that threaten to undo the significant gains in malaria control seen in the last decade. The Medicine Quality Scientific Group is sharing expertise and collating information to increase understanding of the prevalence and distribution of poor-quality medicines around the world.

WWARN Medicine Quality Group

  • Encourage discussion of poor quality medicine epidemiology, detection and prevention.
  • Facilitate improvement in the quality of medicines that patients actually take.
  • Facilitate discussion of sampling techniques and analytical methodologies, including the amendment of guidelines that control the quality of medicines used in clinical trials.
  • Advocate for more investment in the regulation of medicine distribution and treatment adherence and interventions to improve medicine quality
  • WWARN Reference Materials programme: increasing availability of validated reference materials to minimise bias arising from poor-quality reference standards.
  • Proficiency testing programme: Helping laboratories assess their ability to carry out drug analysis and resolve any potential problem areas, improving the quality of data output.

Visualising the information gaps

  • Antimalarial Quality Surveyor: visualises summaries of published reports of antimalarial medicine quality, displaying their geographical distribution across regions and over time. This tool is available in both French and English and provides country summaries.

Education and training

WWARN helps to deliver an annual short course on the quality of medical products, aimed at those working in regulatory bodies, health decision and funding agencies, international health organisations, academia and the pharmaceutical industries. The course will provide evidence that can inform policy and build research capacity for the future – from chemical analysis innovation to legal analysis to mapping, epidemiology and public perceptions.

The Medicine Quality team is working with partners to host the first international conference on ‘Medicine Quality & Public Health’. This will be held in September 2018, in Oxford, UK.

WWARN would like to further develop new partnerships with organisations collecting data on antimalarial quality. Contact us to get involved and share your expertise, email medicinequality [at] wwarn [dot] org

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