THE Department of Health is already addressing some of the issues highlighted by a confidential report which uncovered substandard anti-malarial and antibiotic drugs in PNG. The department Secretary Pascoe Kase said this yesterday when responding to a report last Friday which revealed that anti-malarial and antibiotic medicines in the PNG supply chain were substandard.
He said the purchase of two high performance liquid chromatography machines towards the end of last year would be used to test the quality of imported drugs. For malaria, the department has changed the treatment from chloroquine, amodiaquine quinine arthemeter to artemether combine therapy. All artemether monotherapy will no longer be used as a first line of treatment drug in the country. The first line of tendering for anti-malarial drugs and rapid diagnostic kits artemether combine therapy were done by Global Fund.
According to Mr Kase, stringent tendering process is now being used by the medical supplies branch for the purchase of other anti-malarial drugs including primaquine, amodiaquine, suphadoxine-pyrimethamine, quinine and amoxicilline doxycycline.
"It must be pointed out that the majority of the tablets test did have active chemical content that was within the accepted range of between 90 per cent and 110 per cent. The range of this was from 93.7 per cent for quinine and 98 per cent for fansidar," he added.
Papua New Guineans’ health outcomes should also improve with the establishment of provincial health authorities to address management at provincial and hospital levels according to the top bureaucrat.
"We now have proper governance framework in place to make sure that committees are established to ensure decisions are taken with stakeholders’ inputs. Establishment of two technical experts committees to deal with medicines procurement process to ensure compliance with medicines standards," he added.
As part of the reforms to the drugs quality checks system, Mr Pascoe said the department will recruit pharmacy inspectors who will ensure the Medicines and Cosmetics legislation is enforced within the country.