Laboratories Branch - international affiliations

4 May 2018

The Laboratories Branch maintains important links with other National Regulatory Authorities and organisations. We participate in international collaborative studies and in the calibration of reference materials for use as standardised test controls and also provide scientific advice and specialised training in laboratory techniques to other National Regulatory Agencies.

Our branch is responsible for the batch certification scheme (Batch Certificate of a Pharmaceutical Product - BCPP) for batches of biological products being exported from Australian manufacturers to overseas markets.

Development of technical standards

As an integral part of the regulatory process, we are involved in the development of technical standards for therapeutic goods, at both national and international levels. These are often in the form of guidelines for industry, Australian Standards, ISO standards, pharmacopoeial monographs or input to pharmacopoeial committees. We actively cooperate with other National Regulatory Authorities, international committees and international standard setting organisations including:

The Pacific Medicines Testing Program

The Pacific Medicines Testing Program was announced on 8 September 2017 by the Prime Minister at the Pacific Islands Forum in Apia, Samoa, to enhance regional health security. The Australian government, through the TGA and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will pilot a program to provide Pacific Island countries access to Australian laboratory testing for medicines quality assurance. Medicines will be tested by our Laboratories Branch with funding provided by DFAT.

The Program will focus on testing of medicines for non-communicable diseases (such as medicines for heart disease and diabetes), as well as antibiotics. Pacific Island Countries will also be able to send medicines to TGA when there is a problem or a complaint. The testing services provided by TGA will be at no cost to participating countries. Most of the medicines will be tested during planned testing campaigns. The first campaign commenced in March 2018 for the first five countries who have joined the Program and is expected to be complete in June 2018.

World Health Organization collaborating centres

The TGA laboratories are designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a:

  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Quality Assurance; and
  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Quality Assurance of Vaccines and other Biologicals

The two WHO collaborating centres form part of the collaborative network set up by WHO in support of its policies and programs. Designation is based on our activities and expertise that align with WHO aims and objectives. Each centre provides a four-year activity plan to the WHO and submits progress reports annually.

More information: WHO collaborating centres

WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Quality Assurance

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Centre for the period 2014-2018 include:

  • Provide support to the WHO's programme of the International Pharmacopoeia, including development and validation of test methods for medicines.
  • Perform quality assurance testing of medicines.
  • Provide scientific advice on the quality assurance of medicines.
  • In collaboration with WHO, provide training of laboratory personnel in the validation and application of analytical procedures in the quality assurance of medicines.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Quality Assurance of Vaccines and Biological Medicines

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Centre for the period 2014-18 include:

  • To contribute to strengthening institutional capacity of regulatory authorities through the regional NRA alliance framework in the Western Pacific Region or other regions.
  • To support WHO in developing international written standards and guidelines for regulatory evaluation of vaccines and biological medicines and implementing these standards into practice.
  • To contribute to the development of international measurement standards and reference materials for vaccines and biological medicines.
  • To provide scientific advice on seasonal and/or pandemic influenza vaccine virus strain selection.
  • To perform laboratory testing of the quality of vaccines and biological medicines.