Sat | Jan 19, 2019

CARPHA certified as first pharmaceutical lab in Jamaica

Published:Saturday | December 30, 2017 | 12:47 AM
Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Agency-Drug Testing Laboratory (CARPHA-DTL), Dr C. James Hospedales (second right) displays the certificate of accreditation presented by Chairman of the Accreditation Council of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation, Simon Roberts (centre), during a ceremony held recently at CARPHA'S Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew. Others (from left) are former Head of Department at CARPHA, Dr Lucette Cargill; Technical Officer for Accreditation, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, Stephen Farquharson; and Acting Head of CARPHA, Sonia Thomas Gordon.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency-Drug Testing Laboratory in Jamaica (CARPHA-DTL) has been certified by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), as the first pharmaceutical laboratory in the island. 

Accreditation of CARPHA for laboratory testing and calibration techniques is in compliance with the ISO17025 standard, and marks a significant endorsement of the agency’s capabilities to test the quality of pharmaceutical finished products in order to ensure safe and consistent care of patients.

These products include capsules, tablets, creams, ointments, suspensions, syrups, and lotions.

The JANAAC certification will allow the agency to act as the gatekeeper to test and prevent illegal/counterfeit prescriptions, drug, medicines and other pharmaceuticals being circulated in Jamaica and the wider region.

As the single regional public health agency for the Caribbean, CARPHA’s international accreditation for laboratory testing will mean that access to healthcare and essential quality medicines/pharmaceutical products will be improved and be of greater standard. This is critical for the Caribbean population’s well-being and optimal health.

CARPHA’S Executive Director, Dr C. James Hospedales, says the agency stands to benefit greatly from the certification, which, he notes, distinguishes it from other pharmaceutical quality-control facilities.

He says the agency plays a critical role in providing valuable information that informs decision-making and influences policy across the region in order to strengthen health systems, thereby promoting healthy lives and well-being.

Hospedales, who was speaking at the accreditation ceremony held recently at the lab’s Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew, says that the initiative aligns with CARICOM’s strategy of advancing initiatives for health and wellness by ensuring access to safe, reliable medicines.

He notes that member States will have access to data to undertake evidence-based approaches to enable early warning, risk reduction and management of national public health risks.  

He says, further, that the accreditation can advance health tourism in Jamaica.“The future of health tourism is real, and Jamaica, through CARPHA, can be the forerunners in the region in this arena,” the Executive Director says.

Meanwhile, Dr Hospedales informs that CARPHA will be introducing a new surveillance programme in 2018.

This, he informs, will allow the laboratory to monitor medicines such as those used for the control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).