- What: Merck KGaA funds the GPHF, which develops and manufactures the GPHF-Minilab, a suitcase-sized mobile laboratory.
- Objective: This initiative aims to detect falsified medicines with portable analysis kits that help to identify medicines that contain incorrect levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients.
- Details: The Minilab was developed specifically to meet the needs of countries with limited resources: its tests are rapid, simple and inexpensive.
- Impact: Over 700 Minilabs have been provided to more than 90 countries around the world.
Merck KGaA funds the GPHF, which develops and manufactures the GPHF-Minilab, a suitcase-sized mobile laboratory. These portable analysis kits are used to support the rapid, simple and inexpensive detection of falsified medicines that contain incorrect levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Minilabs can currently be used to help authenticate 80 active ingredients, including medicines for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS and antimicrobials, and this number increases regularly. The Minilab was developed specifically to meet the needs of countries with limited resources: it does not require external power sources and drinking water can be used for tests.
The Minilab initiative has been running since 1999 and has been implemented in all regions worldwide. The GPHF has provided over 700 low-cost, mobile laboratories (either by donation or at cost) and related training, where required, to partnering organisations and healthcare professionals in more than 90 countries around the world. Further, falsified medicines identified through the initiative have led to several WHO medical product alerts.
Falsified medicines are a major public health issue, and are more common in countries with weak regulatory and enforcement systems. While some companies give training to specific countries’ authorities on falsified medicines, the Minilab initiative provides a practical and sustainable means of identifying such medicines that is explicitly designed to fill capacity gaps in resource-limited contexts.