Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Minilab drug testing noble but not olympic - Tanzania

Tanzania: Pharma company Merck donated four minilabs to the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority last month to help boost control measures of counterfeit and sub-standard medicines, particularly in rural areas. (AllAfrica)

Due to the compact nature of the Minilab (all the devices and resources required for drug testing are contained in two transportable units, each the size of a standard suitcase) and its independence from external energy supplies, the tool is well suited for testing in the field. Currently around 470 Minilabs have been provided to 78 countries, more than half of which are located in Africa and a third of which are located in Asia. (Merck)

where does Minilabs finish? 
The cost of a Minilab is around 4000 euros each which equates to a 2 million euro investment worldwide with 1 million for Africa. The article quotes from WHO stats that in some countries in Africa between 30%-50% of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines sold to consumers are counterfeits, often leading to death.

Afro Leo appreciates that Merck and other pharma companies spend a lot on anti-counterfeiting initiatives and that the Minilab project is just one of many, but it is still worth noting that the cost of the drug testing facility used to preserve the integrity of the Olympics 2012, a single event, is 25 million euros - over ten times the cost of the Minilab project. (The Telegraph)

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