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[e-drug] Quality of Malaria Tests in WHO Sources & Prices (3)

E-DRUG: Quality of Malaria Tests in WHO Sources & Prices (3)

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) welcomes the publication of "Sources and Prices 
of Selected Products for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Malaria" 
(e-drug message from Marthe Everhard, 13th January).

This is the first time that WHO has published this sort of information on 
malaria resources (prevention tools, drugs and diagnostic tests).

However, we feel it is irresponsible of WHO to list Rapid Diagnostic Tests 
(RDTs)(a list which readers will inevitably assume is endorsed by WHO) without 
giving any information on the quality or performance of these tests (page 24 of 
the document).

At the very least, WHO could havecollated the information that it advises 
purchasers to request from manufacturers (see p. 38: real-time temperature 
stability, successful operational use, GMP/ISO certification, etc.), rather 
than obliging each individual purchaser to gather these details for 
herself/himself. Manufacturers unable to supply this information could then be 
omitted from the list.

The equivalent "Sources and Prices of Selected Medicines and diagnostics for 
People Living with HIV/AIDS" gave an inventory of diagnostic tests For HIV/AIDS 
that had been previously validated by WHO.

It is the role of WHO to provide this sort of "quality analysis" to enable 
Ministries of Health and others purchasing RDT's for malaria to make informed 
choices about the products to buy. The WHO Regional office for the Western 
Pacific in Manila, Philippines, is in fact conducting such work. For those 
interested in finding out which rapid tests for malaria have already been 
assessed by the WPRO office, you can contact Dr David Bell, who is in charge of 
this work (email: mal-rdt@wpro.who.int, or WPRO switchboard tel.+63 2 528 8001).

Christa Hook, MB ChB
Daniel Berman

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