A compact mobile laboratory for identifying counterfeit medicines was donated to the Ghanaian Ministry of Health by the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF). It was the 500th lab that the GPHF, a charitable initiative financed by Merck, has provided to public and private health services in developing countries since 1998. The Minilab is worth around 9,400 Ghanaian new cedis (approx. EUR 4,000).
Many counterfeit medicines have no therapeutic benefit or sometimes even contain harmful substances. The International Criminal Police Organization Interpol estimates that 10 to 30 % of all medicines in Africa are counterfeit or of inferior quality.
The Minilabs are globally unique for their ability to detect such counterfeits quickly, cost-effectively and reliably.
A Minilab consists of two portable and tropic-resistant suitcases and provides a large number of test methods for checking medicines for external abnormalities, identity and content. Currently, 57 active pharmaceutical ingredients can be tested, particularly those in medicines commonly used against infectious diseases. The test methods include antibiotics, anthelmintics, virostatics, antimalarial medicines, tuberculostatics.
The GPHF is developing new test methods to be able to check more medicines. It also offers training to ensure that the users are familiar with the test methods.
- Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany