Anti-malarial medicine quality field studies and surveys: a systematic review of screening technologies used and reporting of findings.

Lalani, M; Kitutu, FE; Clarke, SE; Kaur, H; (2017) Anti-malarial medicine quality field studies and surveys: a systematic review of screening technologies used and reporting of findings. Malaria journal, 16 (1). p. 197. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI:

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Assessing the quality of medicines in low-middle income countries (LMICs) relies primarily on human inspection and screening technologies, where available. Field studies and surveys have frequently utilized screening tests to analyse medicines sampled at the point of care, such as health care facilities and medicine outlets, to provide a snap shot of medicine quality in a specific geographical area. This review presents an overview of the screening tests typically employed in surveys to assess anti-malarial medicine quality, summarizes the analytical methods used, how findings have been reported and proposes a reporting template for future studies. A systematic search of the peer-reviewed and grey literature available in the public domain (including national and multi-national medicine quality surveys) covering the period 1990-2016 was undertaken. Studies were included if they had used screening techniques to assess the quality of anti-malarial medicines. As no standardized set of guidelines for the methodology and reporting of medicine quality surveys exist, the included studies were assessed for their standard against a newly proposed list of criteria. The titles and abstracts of 4621 records were screened and only 39 were found to meet the eligibility criteria. These 39 studies utilized visual inspection, disintegration, colorimetry and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) either as components of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) MiniLab(®) or as individual tests. Overall, 30/39 studies reported employing confirmatory testing described in international pharmacopeia to verify the quality of anti-malarials post assessment by a screening test. The authors assigned scores for the 23 criteria for the standard of reporting of each study. There is considerable heterogeneity in study design and inconsistency in reporting of field surveys of medicine quality. A lack of standardization in the design and reporting of studies of medicine quality increases the risk of bias and error, impacting on the generalizability and reliability of study results. The criteria proposed for reporting on the standard of studies in this review can be used in conjunction with existing medicine quality survey guidelines as a checklist for designing and reporting findings of studies. The review protocol has been registered with PROSPERO (CRD42015026782).

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Leishmaniasis Group
Malaria Centre
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PubMed ID: 28506234
Web of Science ID: 402209300002


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