The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that one in ten medical products in developing countries are substandard or falsified, and modelling by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimates that around 116,000 additional deaths from malaria could be caused every year by substandard and falsified antimalarials in sub-Saharan Africa*.The lack of capacity in quality assurance of medical products, especially in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) is one of the key challenges.
To address the need to increase capacity and stimulate more research and action on medicine quality, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Oxford started the short course on the Quality of Medical Products and Public Health in 2015.
To date, it has brought together professionals from more than 27 countries, who work in regulatory bodies, health policy and funding agencies, international health organizations, academia, and pharmaceutical industries, to discuss key medicine quality problems. “Seeing people discuss the issue and often come to a consensus on what needs to be done has been wonderful,” said Prof Paul Newton, course director and head of the IDDO Medicine Quality Group.
This year, the course will be hosted by the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and the instructors will be drawn from a range of regulatory agencies, international organisations, universities and generic and innovator pharmaceutical companies. We expect speakers from diverse bodies including the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium, LSHTM, United States Pharmacopeial Convention, and the WHO.
The programme will include: medicine quality definitions, the epidemiology of poor quality medicines and the data gaps that need to be filled; the basics of medicine regulation, good manufacturing practice and laws relating to medicine quality; the basics of chemical and packaging analysis and rapid tests; and the steps needed to improve the global supply of quality assured medicines, and how to advocate for them.
The previous three courses have been hosted by LSHTM in 2016 and 2015 then by Boston University School of Public Health in 2017.
‘It was very good to have an introduction and overview of where we actually stand in the field of research and knowledge. I learnt about a few ongoing or very recent studies that I had not been aware of,” said Prof Lutz Heide, Professor of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Tübingen who attend the course in 2016.
“I took this course because I want to share and I want to hear from other countries what they do and what their strategies are,” said Tanti Yulianti, a former attendee and Pharmaceutical Analyst at the National Quality Control Laboratory of Drug & Food in Indonesia. “Maybe we can find a better one for our country.”
“I've learnt much more about the topic of internet pharmacies and the level of technology that they are using to mask their origin and stay online, despite efforts to close them down,” said Professor Facundo Fernandez, Georgia Institute of Technology, who taught on the course in 2016. “I learnt a lot of things that I had no idea of before.”
The registration fee for the course is £1,600.00, including the accommodation and most meals. Full bursaries are also available. The deadline to apply for a place is 18 May.
The first international academic conference on Medicine Quality & Public Health will also take place in Oxford, UK, the week after the course, allowing participants to easily attend both events. More information can be found here.
* A study on the public health and socioeconomic impact of substandard and falsified medical products: executive summary: Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 (WHO/EMP/RHT/SAV/2017.02). Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.