CARPHA urges the maintenance of standards used in medicines to treat COVID-19

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) says there is a need to ensure that standards are maintained for medicines used in the treatment of diseases including the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has killed and infected thousands of people in the Caribbean.

It said monitoring medicines quality along the supply chain and detecting substandard, or falsified products are even more critical now, due to the impact of the pandemic on supply chains. 

CARPHA quoted the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that market surveillance and control are essential regulatory functions of national medicines regulatory authorities and procurement bodies to ensure the good quality of medicines placed and available on the market and their compliance with applicable quality, safety, and efficacy criteria.

The regional health agency said that its Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), located in Jamaica, is the regional medicines quality control laboratory and is accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025.

“The MQCSD analyses medicines on behalf of CARPHA member states (CMS) to verify their compliance to applicable international standards through its post-market surveillance programme for medicines or on request based on CMS regulatory needs.

“The MQCSD also provides technical, advisory and quality management support to the four national medicines quality control laboratories in the Caribbean. This contributes to the strengthening of regulatory systems that ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines used within Caribbean countries.”

CARPHA said that MQCSD recently hosted a webinar and meeting on risk-based post market surveillance for monitoring the quality of medicines using laboratory testing, highlighting the importance of post-market surveillance of medicines.

It said recommended best practices for the utilisation of laboratory testing to assess the quality of medicines by the MQCSD and CMS were also on the agenda and that the 37 participants from the 13-member countries also discussed the work of the MQCSD in accordance with recommendations made by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO and the MQCSD Post-market surveillance Guide for Small Island Developing States.

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