AN investigation led by the National Department of Health and the Institute of Medical Research has discovered poor quality anti-malarial and antibiotic drugs at all levels of the supply chain in Papua New Guinea.
The investigation concluded that the largest number of failed samples collected by the inquiring team came from PNG hospitals (37.8 per cent) and health centres (27.0 per cent). Area medical stores, which are run by the Department of Health, also had a proportion of high failed samples (22.7 per cent).
A copy of the report titled "Quality of Antimalarial and Antibiotic Medicines in the Public Sector in Papua New Guinea – Report of an Investigation of the Health Facility Supply Chain in 2011" was obtained by the Post-Courier and puts the spotlight back on the quality of drugs that are sold and served over the counter in the country.
The 2011 investigation was the country’s most comprehensive drugs survey to date, according to medical experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and should compel the Government to revisit the issue following the controversial awarding of a multi-million kina contract recently to a PNG-based pharmaceuticals company to supply health kits nationwide.
Health Minister Michael Malabag, when contacted to comment on the report, said it was yet to be brought to his attention.
The team leading the investigation comprised Drs Manuel Hetzel, Justin Pulford and Inoni Betuela from the PNGIMR, Dr Evelyn Lavu and Nancy Bala from the Central Public Health Laboratory, Professor Timothy Davis from the University of Western Australia and Dr Madhu Page-Sharp from the Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.
The aim of the study was to investigate the quality of anti-malarial drugs at different points of the supply chain to the various health facilities around the country which most often used anti-malarial treatment.
The sampling of two antibiotics – amoxicillin and doxycycline – was included in the study as a proxy for other anti-infective medicines that are frequently used for the treatment of non-malarial fever and other illnesses. Post Courier
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