Volume 98, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) Minilab™, a semi-quantitative thin-layer chromatography (TLC)–based commercially available test kit, is widely used in drug quality surveillance globally, but its diagnostic accuracy is unclear. We investigated the diagnostic accuracy of Minilab system for antimicrobials, using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as reference standard. Following the Minilab protocols and the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China protocols, Minilab-TLC and HPLC were used to test five common antimicrobials (506 batches) for relative concentration of active pharmaceutical ingredients. The prevalence of poor-quality antimicrobials determined, respectively, by Minilab TLC and HPLC was amoxicillin (0% versus 14.9%), azithromycin (0% versus 17.4%), cefuroxime axetil (14.3% versus 0%), levofloxacin (0% versus 3.0%), and metronidazole (0% versus 38.0%). The Minilab TLC had false-positive and false-negative detection rates of 2.6% (13/506) and 15.2% (77/506) accordingly, resulting in the following test characteristics: sensitivity 0%, specificity 97.0%, positive predictive value 0, negative predictive value 0.8, positive likelihood ratio 0, negative likelihood ratio 1.0, diagnostic odds ratio 0, and adjusted diagnostic odds ratio 0.2. This study demonstrates unsatisfying diagnostic accuracy of Minilab system in screening poor-quality antimicrobials of common use. Using Minilab as a stand-alone system for monitoring drug quality should be reconsidered.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 08 Apr 2017
  • Accepted : 26 Sep 2017
  • Published online : 06 Nov 2017

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