By Nelson Manneh
The spokesperson of the Pharmaceutical Association of The Gambia, Ma Hawa Njie, yesterday disclosed to Foroyaa that the Medical Control Agency (MCA) has appointed ‘Quntrol’ Private Laboratories Limited to test and issue ‘Clean Reports for Inspection Analysis’ (CRIA), for all imported pharmaceutical products.
‘Quntrol’ Private Laboratories Limited is an independent verification, inspection, and testing company, and will carry out mandatory document verification, physical inspection, quality control testing, and issuance of CRIA for all shipments into the Gambia.
The Company, which is an Indian Non-Government Company, has a 100.0% paid-up capital which is Rs 1.0 lakhs, and is majorly operating into active business service as of now.The Company is registered in Mumbai (Maharashtra) and has a registered address at PLOT NO A/3, FLOOR GR, TODI INDSL ESTATE SUN MILL COMP, L PAREL, MUMBAI, Mumbai City-400013 Maharashtra.
According to Mr Njie, the MCA has also introduced regulations on the pre-shipment document verification, physical inspection, quality control testing, and issuance of CRIA for Pharmaceuticals, to address issues related to substandard and falsified (counterfeit) medicines entering the country. He said this regulation requires all imported pharmaceutical products from India to be inspected and tested for conformity with quality standards, prior to shipment from that country, and that this is a mandatory process to be followed for all consignments imported into The Gambia from India, henceforth.
Mr. Njie said all importers shall require a CRIA issued by ‘Quntrol’ Labs. to clear their goods at the ports in Banjul, noting that without this mandatory document, goods will not be accepted in the country.
“Quntrol’ shall conduct document verification and physical inspection of the consignment and sampling, for laboratory testing for each shipment. If conformity is established at all levels, ‘Quntrol’ shall issue the mandatory CRIA document,” he said, adding that if conformity is not established regarding the quality of the product, the shipment will be quarantined or seized by MCA, and the necessary regulatory actions shall be taken, which regulation will be implemented from July 1, 2023.
“All shipments arriving in The Gambia with a bill of lading dated on or after July 1, 2023, will be required to provide CRIA for customs clearance at the ports of entry in Banjul,” he stated. He said Pharmaceutical products coming from Europe, America, and other countries on the orders of pharmacies, should be ascertained by MCA and when the products reached the Gambia, MCA will have to check them and ensure that they are quarantined pending testing.
“MCA will collect samples and send them to India, to be tested by ‘Quntrol’ Labs. Limited and after approval, the concerned pharmacy will start selling them,” he said.
Mr. Njie added that the process is cost-effective as it helps all pharmaceutical products to be tested before they are consumed in the country. He said the new process has also put in place measures that prevent the consumption of contaminated drugs.
“The process is challenging because if you buy drugs from Europe and they have to come to the Gambia, samples will be collected and sent back to India for testing, and from there, they will be certified before one can sell them in the country. This consumes a lot of time,” he said.