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Safe Equipment Saves Lives: How our Inspections work is protecting frontline workers combating Coronavirus /

This World Health Day we celebrate the incredible healthcare professionals across the world making a difference during the Covid-19 pandemic, the greatest healthcare challenge of our times1. We are grateful to all those who ensure that everyone, everywhere gets the care they need.

As Governments seek to protect their own citizens from Covid-19, Crown Agents is looking to support those countries where health resources and basic care are severely constrained. Our experts have a broad range of skills covering the complete supply chain, including operational procurement, quality assurance and inspections, warehousing, logistics and final mile distribution; offering a full ‘end-to-end’ solution that ensures the secure, accurate and traceable delivery of goods to those who urgently need them. During our response to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone in 2014, this capability made our approach particularly appropriate for delivering pharmaceutical and medical supplies to remote areas2.

As global health and pharmaceutical supply chains come under pressure, 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 recent reports of product recalls for defective equipment in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands3, 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.

Today, QAIS is working with the UK Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to undertake the pre-shipment factory inspections of 151 medical supply items vital for patient treatment and the protection of frontline health workers. These include gloves, Tyvek suits, N95 masks, isolation units, PCR test machines and test kits, which are all assessed against the highest international standards. We are evaluating and appraising 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.

This ongoing project aims to support the needs of British Overseas Territories to stem the flow of Covid-19 infections and provide life-saving support to health systems.

Our capabilities

Crown Agents QAIS has the expertise to undertake a range of inspection types, ranging 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.

  • 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 /

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.


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