Opinion Paper

Improving access to new diagnostics through harmonised regulation: priorities for action

Ruth McNerney, Kimberly Sollis, Rosanna W. Peeling
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 1 | a123 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i1.123 | © 2014 Ruth McNerney, Kimberly Sollis, Rosanna W. Peeling | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 2013 | Published: 04 April 2014

About the author(s)

Ruth McNerney, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Kimberly Sollis, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Rosanna W. Peeling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, United Kingdom

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


A new generation of diagnostic tests is being developed for use at the point of care that could save lives and reduce the spread of infectious diseases through early detection and treatment. It is important that patients in developing countries have access to these products at affordable prices and without delay. Regulation of medical products is intended to ensure safety and quality whilst balancing the need for timely access to beneficial new products. Current regulatory oversight of diagnostic tests in developing countries is highly variable and weak regulation allows poor-quality tests to enter the market. However, inefficient orover zealous regulation results in unnecessary delays, increases costs and acts as a barrier to innovation and market entry. Setting international standards and streamlining the regulatory process could reduce these barriers. Four priority activities have been identified where convergence of standards and protocols or joint review of data would be advantageous: (1) adoption of a common registration file for pre-market approval; (2) convergence of quality standards for manufacturing site inspections; (3) use of common evaluation protocols, aswell as joint review of data, to reduce unnecessary duplication of lengthy and costly clinical performance studies; and (4) use of networks of laboratories for post-market surveillance in order to monitor ongoing quality of diagnostic devices. The adoption and implementation of such measures in developing countries could accelerate access to new diagnostic tests that are safe and affordable.


In vitro diagnostics; regulation; harmonisation; medical devices; diagnostic test


Total abstract views: 8027
Total article views: 16515


Crossref Citations

1. Regulatory In Vitro Diagnostics Landscape in Africa: Update on Regional Activities
Ruth McNerney, Rosanna W. Peeling
Clinical Infectious Diseases  vol: 61  issue: suppl 3  first page: S135  year: 2015  
doi: 10.1093/cid/civ553