The construction of the National Drug Control Laboratory is set to trigger the local drug manufacturing as companies will have a reference laboratory needed for the production of new and specific medicines, officials have said.
Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board acting registrar Mphatso Kawaye said on Friday during a media tour by the Public Reforms Unit that the National Drug Control Laboratory will not only enhance safety of medicines that Malawians consume but also encourage local manufacturing of new medicines which could be cheaper.
He said: “For pharmaceutical companies to produce own products, they need reference laboratory services and because of the level of the equipment that we have installed, pharmaceutical companies will have a reference lab opportunity for the production of new medicine products.”
Kawaye said the laboratory is expected to have first certification audit by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in the first half of 2019 and in between the laboratory will have two visits by the monitoring laboratory that was identified in Ghana in preparation for the accreditation.
As part of reforms, Kawaye said the institution introduced the tip-off anonymous programme to enable communities report illegal drug handling activities happening in their communities as well as the mapping out of networks that facilitate illegal drug handling activities in the country.
The institution also undertook the regulations of traditional and complementary medicines in the country, an area which, according to Kawaye, remains prominent on the market.
Director responsible for technical services in the Public Sector Reforms Management Unit in the Office of President and Cabinet, Emmie Galafa, expressed satisfaction and contentment with the pace at which reforms are being implemented by the institution and encouraged other institutions to emulate.
“To a common man on the ground, with the ISO accreditation, they can be assured that the drugs that will be coming out after tests from the lab will be of international standards and we will be assured that we are getting reliable and credible medicines for consumption for a common man,” she said.
From the tip-off anonymous platform since its launch in 2016, the institution received 317 random reports and secured some convictions of culprits.