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Safe Equipment Saves Lives: How our Inspections work is protecting frontline workers combating Covid-19

6th April 2020

On World Quality Day the spotlight is on the professionals across the world who work to ensure that only the highest quality goods reach global markets. From a healthcare perspective, the importance of this role has come to light even more throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

As global health and pharmaceutical supply chains come under pressure from the pandemic, quality assurance and inspections are crucial to ensure that personal protection equipment (PPE), test kits and pharmaceutical supplies meet required standards. Around the world, medical equipment is being bought at an unprecedented rate. Following reports of product recalls for defective equipment in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, it’s clear that effective product inspections are necessary to ensure the safety of healthcare workers fighting the virus.

The Coronavirus response

Crown Agents’ third-party quality assurance and in­spections services (QAIS) improve quality, safety and productivity, working to the highest international standards and providing organisations with a guarantee that all items supplied are safe, effective and fit for purpose. We offer inspections on a broad range of products to public, private and third sector organisations, including Industrial, Humanitarian and Health Inspections.

Throughout 2020, our QAIS team have conducted over 100 inspection assignments for global clients related to essential COVID-19 supplies. This has included inspections for a number of UN Agencies, as well as supporting the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to respond to the needs of the British Overseas Territories during the pandemic. We undertook the pre-shipment factory inspections of 4 million items of essential PPE and over 250,000 test swabs bound for the Territories, which were all assessed against the highest international standards. We evaluated and appraised new vendors, with our experts assessing everything, from their sources of supply through to labelling, packaging and shipment to ensure integrity throughout the supply chain.

By inspecting the goods ahead of shipment, we have aided in protecting frontline health workers, ensured vital patient treatments could go ahead and have provided value for money for the client, as no defective goods ever left their origin.

Looking ahead to Covid-19 vaccine procurement and distribution 

When it comes to rolling out a nation-wide adult vaccine programme, countries are going to face major challenges that test their governments and health systems. Crown Agents has a holistic capability offering, from campaign planning to mobilising the workforce, to support countries with the planning and deployment of their vaccine programme. When the time comes to procure and distribute the vaccine, we can also provide essential insurance services:

  • Vendor appraisal – enabling the validation of the credentials and capabilities of vendors within the vaccine supply chain by carrying out both physical and documentary inspection of such vendors.
  • Sampling and independent laboratory testing at pre and post shipment – specific to various anticipated vaccine types, this service enables samples of vaccine to be independently sampled and submitted for laboratory testing to confirm vaccine validity.
  • Pre and Post delivery visual inspection – to confirm packaging/labelling, quantities, condition of the vaccines (e.g. confirmation any required cold chain conditions are being met).
  • Loading / Unloading supervision – to ensure vaccines are moved under the correct conditions to ensure they arrive at their destination intact.

These services can provide essential support for not only procuring and distributing vaccines, but ensuring the validity and confirming the efficacy of the vaccines – in line with the manufacturer’s claimed performance. These can be conducted where required throughout the cold chain distribution process, from manufacture to delivery. In addition, Crown Agents has extensive experience in carrying out inspections on cold chain equipment which will be essential for the effective distribution of vaccines at pre and post-shipment and critically at post-installation stages.

In times of crisis it is more important than ever to get health-related products right the first time – as good procurement doesn’t just save time and money, it saves lives. Crown Agents is proud to help healthcare professionals fighting this pandemic by ensuring they receive the best possible protection and equipment, today and beyond.

Want to know more about Quality Insurance and Inspections capabilities?

Crown Agents has over 100 years of experience providing a range of inspection types, from vendor appraisal, to pre-and-post-shipment inspections, to sampling and lab testing; our inspectors work behind the scenes to check products at every point in the supply chain. In addition to health-related inspections, we cover a broad range of sectors including humanitarian response, energy and renewables, industrial, agricultural and utilities, working with governments and private sector organisations all over the world. As an international leader in end-to-end supply chains, with a network of highly skilled inspectors around the world, we can ensure that products anywhere meet expectations, regulations and legislation, whilst complying with the highest ethical and sustainable standards of procurement.

Our global impact includes:

  • 750 million mosquito bed nets assessed in the last 5 years /
  • Procuring, inspecting and testing 3.3 billion male and female condoms /
  • 15,000 hand pumps inspected in remote communities in Bangladesh /
  • Inspection of essential PPE items and hospital equipment for frontline workers, including masks, gowns and oxygen cylinders /
  • Inspection and sampling of pharmaceuticals, contraceptives and first aid items /

Contact us today for advice on quality standards or a quotation for your inspection needs:

Steven Stocks
Head of Quality Assurance and Inspection Services, Crown Agents
T: +44 (0)7584 540829