Bangladesh steps up efforts to control quality of medical products
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 4 March 2019 – In February 2019, WHO organized a peer audit of Bangladesh National Drug Control Laboratory (NCL) which is an important step for the laboratory to achieve WHO prequalification status, an international recognition of complying with WHO’s recommended standards. The international peer audit team, composed of experts from countries which have already achieved WHO prequalification, made positive remarks about the NCL’s development to-date and made recommendations which will help in seeking WHO prequalification.
The National Drug Control Laboratory (NCL) plays a critical part of quality assurance, being responsible for testing that drugs are of adequate quality and flagging to manufacturers any concerns about the quality of their products.
With high commitment from government and the support of development partners, NCL has made considerable progress being accredited locally by Bangladesh Accreditation Board for and internationally from American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Board (ANAB). The laboratory is currently seeking WHO prequalification and has submitted a formal application to WHO, including the required lab information.
In the same efforts of strengthening control quality of medical products, Bangladesh is hosting in March 2019 a regional workshop for the Asia Chapter of the Network of Official Medicines Control Laboratories (NOMCoL). The event is organized by United Stated Pharmacopeial Convention, Promoting Quality of Medicines program (USP/PQM) with USAID support and in collaboration with WHO. NOMCoL is an important initiative to encourage exchange of experience between laboratories from various countries and of varying capacity, enhancing collaboration and availing opportunities for countries to benefit from the expertise and development of laboratory capacity.
These initiatives are part of Bangladesh’s actions to improve public health, working towards universal health coverage (UHC) and exerting serious efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG target 3.8 is to “Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.” Other SDG targets are also related with access to medicines thus emphasizing the critical role played by national control laboratories for medicinal products.
WHO will continue supporting Bangladesh to strengthen the regulatory system for medical products, as an essential pillar of a solid health system.