Pascoe Responds to ‘Bad Drugs Rife’ Newspaper Article

Secretary for Health, Pascoe Kase, responded to a newspaper article published last Friday under the headline Bad Drugs Rife in PNG.

The article reported that 87 % of antimalarial and antibiotic drugs supplied by hospitals, health centers and area medical stores, are of poor quality, and contain less than the acceptable amount of ingredients needed for these drugs.

The research was led by the Central Public Health Laboratory of the National Department of Health, and the PNG Institute of Medical Research in collaboration with international experts in 2011.

The research was based on the quality of antimalarial and antibiotics medicine. 

Mr. Kase said that the report was not meant for public consumption, and was concerned with the manner in which the report was released.

According to the article, 366 samples were collected from 60 different health providers in 18 provinces. Thirty-seven of these samples failed the required chemical content analysis.

Kase said the intent of the research was mainly to address Quality Assurance of anti-malarial drugs procured under the Malaria Control Program, and to make improvements to malarial treatment protocols. 

The article also suggested that the results lack adequate quality medicines and to fix the problem, the report has recommended limiting the procurement drugs to World Health Organization standards and putting in place testing facilities at all ports of entry.

In response the Health Secretary pointed out that majority of the tablets tested did have active chemicals that were within the accepted range, between 90 and 110%.

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