African Countries Urged To Back New Medicines Agency
Obstacles Include Lack Of Political Will
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for greater harmonization of medicines regulation to tackle health issues and emergencies more effectively in Africa. With that in mind, countries are being encouraged to speed up their ratification of a treaty setting up a new pan-African body tasked with coordinating national regulatory efforts, improving access to quality medicines and supporting the local pharmaceutical industry.
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Stakeholders are making a concerted effort to get the new agency off the ground, saying it will not only reduce drug approval times but help to drive industrial and economic growth in Africa. The European Medicines Agency is offering to share its experience in regulatory collaboration and network building.
Last month a drug for the prevention of uterine haemorrhage became the first product to be approved under a novel scheme designed to speed up access to medicines in low and middle-income countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa.
After a slow start, the coronavirus is now taking hold in Africa, with almost all of the continent's 54 countries reporting cases of infection. Actions being taken to tackle the disease include cooperation on speeding up the approval of coronavirus clinical trials, while a report from the UN says coordinated efforts on the distribution of medical supplies are needed.