Quality Medicines Made Available

Friday, June 26, 2020
Gulchekhra at her work place
Azamat Katabekov

A laboratory is working to ensure the quality of medicines in Uzbekistan

One of the priority tasks of independent Uzbekistan is to improve the quality of life, social protection of the population, including providing the population and healthcare facilities with affordable and high-quality medicinal products, and medical devices.

“My dream was to bring benefits to society, and I saw this in protecting public health,” said Gulchekhra Boltabaeva, Head of the Laboratory for Quality Control and Standardization of Medicines in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Gulchekhra Boltabaeva graduated from the Tashkent Pharmaceutical Institute with a degree in pharmacy in 1990 and she immediately received an offer to work in the newly established Laboratory for Quality Control and Standardization of Medicines. She began her professional career as a junior fellow researcher.

The main objective of the laboratory is state and follow-up quality control of medicinal products and medical devices, in particular quality control during state registration and certification of medicinal products and medical devices, as well as expert and scientific research activities on standardization of medicinal products, development of new quality control methods, and improvement and unification of existing ones.

The USAID Promoting the Quality of Medicines Plus project works closely with the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in improving the quality management system and the country's laboratories performance involved in the quality control of pharmaceutical products to ensure their compliance with international standards.

Active cooperation of the laboratory with USAID began in 2017. Various training sessions held by USAID have contributed to the skills improvement of laboratory staff. Structural and functional deficiencies in the system were addressed by conducting appraisal audits, which contributed to the improvement of performance. Also, within the framework of the project, technical assistance was provided, including the purchasing of laboratory equipment. USAID aims to convey to public agencies and society the importance of ensuring the quality of medicinal products, as this is an important factor in preventing the sale of low-quality and counterfeit products.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we ensured timely quality control of medicinal products and medical devices used in the treatment and diagnosis of coronavirus and respiratory infections,” says Gulchekhra. “During quarantine, personnel who were over 60 years old and employees with young children were granted paid labor leave, and all laboratory staff strictly followed the sanitary and hygienic requirements of the quarantine in order to prevent the risk of infection.”

“Another important point is that USAID helps prepare laboratories for accreditation and compliance with international standards,” says Gulchekhra. Compliance with international standards allows laboratories to reach a new level of collaboration with international organizations in Central Asia in the fight against tuberculosis, etc.

“The trainings organized by USAID are very efficient. The employees who attended the training transfer the acquired knowledge to the rest of the team, which is very important,” says Gulchekhra. Properly trained and qualified personnel are the cornerstone in consistent reliable testing of medicines. Trainings focused on such areas as fundamental principles of good practice for pharmaceutical quality control laboratories, documentation management, data integrity and good manufacturing practice.

Due to the presence of more than 100 manufacturers of medicines in Uzbekistan and the need to implement Good Manufacturing Practice requirements, one of the key and promising areas of cooperation under the USAID Promoting the Quality of Medicines Plus project is the development of a national good practice inspectorate.

“I am proud to be contributing in such an important area as protecting human health,” says Gulchekhra.

Last updated: August 06, 2020

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