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Posted 13 October 2016 | By Michael Mezher
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday released what it says is the first comprehensive overview of international regulatory initiatives, calling attention to the need for greater coordination across international regulatory efforts.
EMA says the report was developed on behalf of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) to "provide a general overview of multi-project initiatives in which multiple regulators were involved."
ICMRA was created following a series of discussions stemming from a session at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in 2012 to improve coordination among regulators on a global level.
ICMRA members include EMA, the European Commission and regulators from a number of European countries, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and the US.
According to EMA, its goal in mapping international regulatory initiatives is to "raise awareness of ongoing international regulatory activities, help establish a basis for a more strategic coordination to avoid duplication of efforts, and identify possible gaps."
"The mapping activities led by EMA are a first attempt to produce a global overview of current international initiatives in key areas for medicines regulators, which is a prerequisite for achieving more effective coordination of regulators worldwide," EMA writes.
In total, EMA identified a total of 20 multinational initiatives, each undertaking multiple projects within the field of human medicines.
However, despite the "myriad of initiatives" identified in the report, EMA says it found "no strategic coordination," among them.
"Similar initiatives often have differently worded objectives which frequently overlap. There are some recurrent objectives e.g. information sharing and harmonisation, but they usually apply to different regions or thematic areas."
According to EMA, these overlaps "hinder the provision of a comprehensive overview and comparison of various initiatives," while leaving "gaps and critical areas that are not yet addressed by any international initiative."
For instance, for pharmacovigilance, which the report highlights as a potential priority area where ICMRA could have the most positive impact, EMA says it identified 18 different initiatives that covered everything from the technology used for reporting, collection, management and analysis of adverse events to developing harmonized guidelines and policies for pharmacovigilance activities.
Here EMA says efforts are stunted due to "a lack of mutual awareness," and that despite the high number of initiatives, one major area—using big data and "real world evidence" in pharmacovigilance—is overlooked.
EMA, Connecting the Dots – Towards global knowledge of the international medicine regulatory landscape: mapping of international initiative s
Tags: ICMRA, International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities