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Pharmaceutical Industry, Good Manufacturing Practices, Inspections, Quality of medicines


The prevalence of substandard medicines in Africa is high but not well documented. Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) are likely to face considerable challenges with substandard medications. Africa faces inadequate drug regulatory practices, and in general, compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in most of the pharmaceutical industries is lacking. The majority of pharmaceutical manufacturers in developing countries are often overwhelmed by the GMP requirements and therefore are unable to operate in line with internationally acceptable standards. Non-conformances observed during regulatory inspections provide the status of the compliance to GMP requirements. The study aimed to identify the GMP non-conformances during regulatory inspections and gaps in the production of pharmaceuticals locally manufactured in Uganda by review of the available 50 GMP reports of 21 local pharmaceutical companies in Uganda from 2016. The binary logistic generalized estimating equations (GEE) model was applied to estimate the association between odds of a company failing to comply with the GMP requirements and non-conformances under each GMP inspection parameter. Analysis using dummy estimation to linear regression included determination of the relationship that existed between the selected variables (GMP inspection parameters) and the production capacity of the local pharmaceutical industry. Oral liquids, external liquid preparations, powders, creams, and ointments were the main categories of products manufactured locally. The results indicated that 86% of the non-conformances were major, 11% were minor, and 3% critical. The majority of the non-conformances were related to production (30.1%), documentation (24.5%), and quality control (17.6%). Regression results indicated that for every non-conformance under premises, equipment, and utilities, there was a 7-fold likelihood of the manufacturer failing to comply with the GMP standards (aOR=6.81, P=0.001). The results showed that major non-conformances were significantly higher in industries of small scale (B=6.77, P=0.02) and medium scale (B=8.40, P=0.04), as compared to those of large scale. This study highlights the failures in quality assurance systems and stagnated GMP improvements in these industries that need to be addressed by the manufacturers with support from the regulator. The addition of risk assessment to critical production and quality control operations and establishment of appropriate corrective and preventive actions as part of quality management systems are required to ensure that quality pharmaceuticals are manufactured locally.