There is a need to improve the standards of drug testing laboratories but this can only happen if there is the political will to do so, stressed World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant Marium Qaiser.
Briefing the media at the Marriott hotel on Friday, Qaiser and fellow consultant Emma Hancox urged continuous support for improving standards, saying that substandard drugs could be controlled through public-private partnerships.
“It is apparent that there is much potential and competency among the laboratory staff but improvements are still necessary,” said Qaiser.
“Pakistan now realises that patient safety and medicine quality is a common goal for the entire industry,” said Qaiser. “It is not the responsibility of any one organisation alone but instead is a joint effort that requires public-private relationships. The focus should be on taking preventative measures instead of waiting for hundreds of fatalities to occur before taking action.”
The consultants were of the view that effective national regulation of medicines was essential to ensure patient safety as well as the efficacy and quality of all pharmaceutical products available in the market. After a fatal incident in Lahore in 2012, the Punjab government approached WHO for their assessment of the national pharmaceutical quality control laboratories. One of the major findings was a lack of quality standards, which are fundamental if a laboratory is to receive international recognition.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2015.