Review of Quality Assurance (QA) Mechanisms for Medicines and Medical Supplies in Humanitarian Aid. Concept Paper 06/2006
(2006; 40 pages)


In the humanitarian operations that DG ECHO finances, under its mandate, the health sector is the most important - in terms of the priority given to life saving and the alleviation of suffering. The volume of funds accorded to health activities is telling. In most countries receiving DG ECHO’s support, health absorbs from 30 to 50% of DG ECHO’s funding, depending on the year. Of the amounts devoted to health, from 20 to 30% of the funds go for the purchase and management of medicines and medical supplies (i.e. between 40 and 90 million Euro, again depending on the year). The international context for the procurement of medicines and medical supplies is presenting challenges from: the increase in counterfeit medicines; and globalization leading to production shifting rapidly, with new producers entering the market. Further, the emergency context under which partners often work, including both IOs and European NGOs, may also prevent them from applying the QA procedures required in procurement. This brings to the fore the possibility of them giving insufficient attention to the correct management of drug supplies - ultimately potentially affecting the safety of intended beneficiaries...

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