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AbstractThis study evaluates the use of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) Minilab for medicine quality screening by 16 faith-based drug supply organizations located in 13 low- and middle-income countries. The study period included the year before the COVID-19 pandemic (2019) and the first year of the pandemic (2020). In total 1,919 medicine samples were screened using the GPHF Minilab, and samples showing serious quality deficiencies were subjected to compendial analysis in fully equipped laboratories. Thirty-four (1.8%) of the samples were found not to contain the declared active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), or less than 50% of the declared API, or undeclared APIs, and probably represented falsified products. Fifty-four (2.8%) of the samples were reported as substandard, although the true number of substandard medicines may have been higher due to the limited sensitivity of the GPHF Minilab. The number of probably falsified products increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially due to falsified preparations of chloroquine; chloroquine had been incorrectly advocated as treatment for COVID-19. The reports from this project resulted in four international WHO Medical Product Alerts and several national alerts. Within this project, the costs for GPHF Minilab analysis resulted as 25.85 € per sample. Medicine quality screening with the GPHF Minilab is a cost-effective way to contribute to the global surveillance for substandard and falsified medical products.

Original publication





Scientific Reports


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date