Government Drug Control Laboratories in Middle East and North Africa Join with USP to Launch Quality Improvement Network

By U.s. Pharmacopeial Convention, PRNE
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Initiative Expected to Assist Countries in Improving Quality of Drugs

ROCKVILLE, Maryland, October 21, 2010 - Six government drug control laboratories in the Middle East and North
(MENA) will join together with the United States Pharmacopeial
Convention (USP) in an effort to improve their capabilities to test the
quality of drugs. The MENA Regional Laboratory Network aims to promote
communication and exchange of information among participating countries,
strengthen the performance and technical skill of the laboratories and their
personnel, harmonize methods that facilitate approval of drugs across
countries in the region, and help eliminate substandard and counterfeit

The Network was agreed to by senior officials of government laboratories
from Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia in a
meeting with USP officials on October 10. USP representatives were in Amman
to participate in the Sixth USP Science & Standards Symposium cosponsored
with the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (JAPM) and the
Jordan Food and Drug Administration (FDA). JAPM was involved in developing
the Network concept.

"USP is pleased to help launch this new Network as part of our mission of
improving the quality of medicines, supplements and food ingredients around
the world," said Roger L. Williams, M.D., USP chief executive officer. "This
initiative is possible because of the increased focus of MENA governments on
high quality medicines, vigorous trade in pharmaceutical goods, and the
desire to harmonize procedures for testing drugs," he added. "It will
complement efforts under way in several of these countries to improve and
help ensure the quality of their laboratories," Williams said.

USP will provide program management, initial funding, reference
standards, and technical analyses. One of the key activities planned for the
initial year is the inter-laboratory testing activity. Once a drug product is
selected for testing, USP will provide samples to participating laboratories
which will then test the products and send results and details of their
testing procedures to USP. Analyses of this information by USP will lead to
feedback on each laboratory's performance, including recommendations for
improvement. Participating laboratories will make key decisions about the
product to be tested and how information is shared within the network.

Government agencies signing onto the Network included:

    -- Abu Dhabi: Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, UAE
    -- Egypt: National Organization for Drug Control & Research
    -- Jordan: Drug Quality Control Laboratory, Jordan Food and Drug
    -- Morocco: Direction de Medicament Et de la Pharmacie
    -- Saudi Arabia: Products Evaluation and Standards-setting and National
       Drug and Cosmetic Control Laboratories (NDCCL) in Drug Sector, Saudi
       Food and Drug Authority
    -- Tunisia: Laboratoire National de Controle des Medicaments

If the Network is deemed successful by participants, additional
government drug control laboratories in the region may be invited to join.

    CONTACT: Francine Pierson

Francine Pierson of U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, +1-301-816-8588; fp at

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