Africa needs more efficient regulatory systems to improve access to medicines

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The FINANCIAL — DIA (Develop, Innovate, Advance), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank Group, bring together more than 160 regulatory experts and global health leaders from Africa, Europe, and North America to discuss pragmatic solutions that would improve and strengthen regulatory systems and move towards more convergence.

“Regulatory stakeholders from around Africa and beyond will share insights on meeting patient needs, lessons learnt from current regulatory landscape, fostering regionally harmonized regulator systems, and forge meaningful dialogue.” said Mr Ibrahima Wone Secretary General of the Minister of Health and Social Action of Senegal in his opening remarks. “Senegal stands firm on the importance of regulatory convergence and the need for us to determine what we need in our region. As regulators we each need to be committed, engaged and proactive.”

In Africa today, it could take up to five years longer for medicines to be available for patients than for those in other parts of the world. As national regulatory agencies each carry out inspections of manufacturing sites for regulatory approval, this wastes resources, delays availability, and adds cost. Moreover, because of slow review times we have products in the market with incomplete safety information which is not in the best interest to healthcare professionals and patients. These are just few examples where improvements are necessary.

Andreas Seiter, on behalf of the World Bank Group, said “The World Bank is actively supporting regulatory harmonization and capacity building through financing (Trust Fund), project management, stakeholder engagement and knowledge sharing. This is precisely why we are engaged in regulatory platforms such as the African Regulatory Conference. We focus on Africa as the current regional and national systems have significant gaps, in particular affecting the poor in Low and (to a lesser extent) Middle Income Countries. We believe that better regional and global cooperation and “division of labour” can indeed make genuine difference for regulatory system strengthening.”

“Capacity building and global collaboration is key to today’s healthcare ecosystem. Our work in Africa gives us the opportunity to bring together a diverse and yet similar group of colleagues to promote networking and knowledge sharing between all stakeholders working towards the advancement of regulatory harmonization and access safe medicines regionally through our regional conferences and local training,“ says Jytte Lyngvig, ‎Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DIA Europe, Middle East & Africa.

“As a public health stakeholder, IFPMA is committed to regulatory system strengthening and puts particular emphasis on regulatory harmonization and capacity building efforts. In 2015, together with our partner DIA, we have organized regulatory conferences in Chinese Taipei and now here in Senegal to provide a platform both in Asia and Africa for exchange among key regulatory stakeholders,” says Eduardo Pisani, Director General of IFPMA.

 

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