Sarah L. Bliese, M. Berta, M. Lieberman
Oct 26, 2020
Journal of chemical education
The distributed pharmaceutical analysis laboratory (DPAL) is a collaboration between 30 academic institutions around the world, whose goal is to determine the quality of medicines collected from partner organizations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Institutions complete system suitability for a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system using United States Pharmacopeia (USP)-traceable reference standards, and are then approved to analyze batches of samples that are collected in LMICs by covert shoppers. Open Science Framework (OSF) allows DPAL participants access to resources for the program including an HPLC methodology manual, a wiki with HPLC troubleshooting information, detailed checklists and Excel templates for system suitability and sample assay, as well as steps for reporting results. Participants incorporate the DPAL program into their academic curriculum as undergraduate research or via lab activities for analytical chemistry or instrumental analysis courses. Over a thousand samples have been analyzed through DPAL in the last three years, and 168 samples with quality problems have been discovered, including falsified acetaminophen, adulterated amoxicillin-clavulanate and doxycycline, and substandard losartan. These quality problems are reported to the medicine regulatory agencies in the countries of origin and the WHO Rapid Alert System for further action. This real-world program gives students a hands-on opportunity to see the importance of analytical metrics taught in the classroom.