New Initiative Aims to Harmonize Africa's Regulations

Posted 03 April 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

A new United Nations-backed initiative aims to give Africans consistent access to "essential, high quality, safe and affordable medicines" through the establishment of regulatory harmonization and capacity-building programs.

The initiative, called the East African Community (EAC) Medicines Registration Harmonization Project , brings together several high-level groups, including the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development (DfID), and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

"The [program's] launch marks the starting point in the implementation of the broader African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Programme across the continent," the groups said in a statement.

"The partners hope to strengthen regulatory capacity and systems for medicines in Africa, including antiretroviral drugs, so that fewer lives are lost due to drugs which are unsafe and of poor quality or which are largely unavailable or delivered inefficiently," the group explained. "These existing challenges can be attributed to a range of factors which include lack of human and financial resources, insufficient infrastructure, weak medicine legislation and a lengthy drug approval cycle caused by low regulatory capacity and inefficient processes."

"Regional regulatory agencies will deliver a range of benefits" said Dr De Lay, executive director of UNAIDS. "Things will be faster, more efficient and fairer," he added.

Read more:

UNAIDS - New initiative launched to deliver better, cheaper medicines to Africa

(h/t Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report)

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