The Centre for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT) has inaugurated an expanded state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory facility to meet the quality assurance demands of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The prefabricated and modular laboratory unit is the first of its kind in the sub-region and it would serve as a model that other countries and national laboratories could replicate.
It would also help pharmaceutical companies in the Region to characterise their pharmaceutical raw materials and also verify their authenticity and quality.
CePAT was established by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), three years ago to offer training testing and consulting services, has helped to develop human resource capacity in pharmaceutical quality assurance and quality control.
It has developed a cadre of about 190 competent professionals for the pharmaceutical industry and national drug authorities in about 32 African countries.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr Alexander Segbefia, the Minister of Health, commended the USP for selecting Ghana to house to such an important facility, which he said, would be of immense benefit to the entire African sub-region.
According to him, the Ministry and its agencies had over the past three years collaborated effectively with CePAT, and applauded the Centre’s commitment towards the provision of human resource development, testing and other consultancy services for both public and private companies and institutions.
He said the expansion of the facility was, therefore, timely considering the current challenges of counterfeit and sub-standard pharmaceutical products and other consumables facing the country.
Mr Segbefia, therefore, pledged the government’s commitment towards ensuring a strengthened partnership between the centre and other national regulatory authorities to drug quality assurance.
Dr Roland Piervincenzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the USP, said under the Global Health Impact Programme, CePAT served as an integrated platform of training, consulting, testing and capacity building to support pharmaceutical quality assurance systems in a sustainable way in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Briefing the media earlier, Dr Patrick Lukulay, the Vice President of the Global Health Impact Programmes-Africa, under the USP, said the expanded facility would enable the Centre to conduct microbiology testing to check whether sterile products and non-sterile liquid medicines were free from microbial contamination or not.
Dr Lukulay said with the additional capabilities at the Centre, regulatory authorities in the sub-region should drive the necessary changes needed for full compliance with international standards for the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical products.
He said: “All of these developments would help to drive changes and improve drug quality in the Region and also protect public health and safety, while CePAT is also hoping to expand the content of its training and reach out to more professionals across Africa”.
Mr Hudu Mogtari, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said, his outfit had intensified its monitoring for counterfeit and sub-standard pharmaceutical products, and expressed the hope that the Centre would help in solving some of the problems.
Some of the new instrumentation at the laboratory are Differential Scanning Calorimetry for polymorph identification, a Thermo Gravimetric analysis for stability, degradation and decomposition analysis, a Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometry for high-level identification of impurities in pharmaceutical products.
Others are dissolution apparatus, a CD3 counterfeit detector and a Mini Laboratory for field screening