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“Quality medicines will save African lives,” say experts
Pharma News

Today, Africa bears 25% of the global burden of disease, but less than 2% of the world’s medicines are produced in the continent. Importing medicines and commodities that the African population needs has proven to be unsustainable.

It is for this reason that key government representatives, international development organizations and experts in medicines and health technologies regulation have gathered in the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the Fourth African Medicines Regulators Conference which has convened today.

The conference will review the status of the regulation of medical products in the Region, identify challenges, and propose solutions for improvement within current global and regional contexts. In addition, the conference will agree on modalities for accelerating information sharing on medicines regulation and harmonization in Africa and regulation of medical devices, diagnostics and blood products.

“As we enter a new era of sustainable development, Africa is poised to be a leader in ending health challenges” said Prof Aggrey Ambali, Head of the NEPAD Science, Technology and Innovation Hub.

“However, to achieve this we need strong National Medicines Regulatory Agencies in Africa that can attain the status of stringent regulatory authorities that we currently see in Europe and the United States.” he continued to say.

The proliferation of sub-standard, spurious, falsely labeled and falsified, counterfeit medical products in our market further constitutes a public health concern that has impacted on the competitiveness of the local pharmaceutical industry and compromised the health of the African population. The gathering of the different experts is also expected to discuss this challenge and how various stakeholders can assist in the elimination of sub-standard medical products and help protect and promote public health for Africa.

Speaking of behalf of the Director for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission, Dr. Janet Byaruhanga, Health officer at the African Union Commission (AUC) pointed to the fact that the 4th African Medicines Regulators Conference is the indication of the willingness of African States and partner organizations to strengthen regulatory capacities and capabilities of the pharmaceutical system. Moreover, she underlined that the issue of medicines regulation is central to the continental development agenda as Africa is transiting into its new development framework, Agenda 2063. In that regard, she mentioned some continental initiatives established under the framework of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA).

“The African Union will continue to harness the global momentum that has been created towards addressing the issue of counterfeit medicines and willingness to support related programmes” she said.

On Behalf of Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Paul Manuika spoke on the need for a strong medicines regulatory system in Africa. He commended the different continental and regional initiatives undertaken to accelerate the harmonization of regulation of medical products.

“I call upon Member States to prioritize medical products regulatory system strengthening by including this in national health policies and plans with timelines, indicators and benchmarks to raise public awareness on quality assurance of medical products and increase investments in this area “, he concluded.

Deliberations will continue over the next three days in the African Union Headquarters.

Courtesy – Bizwire Express

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