ECOWAS Unveils Medicine Regulation Project

Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu

A new project to harmonise the regulation of medicines in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region has been unveiled in Accra.

The ECOWAS-Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (MRH) Project is expected to build sufficient regulatory capacity to approve medicines for public health benefits in a timely manner ensuring acceptable quality, safety and efficacy standards within the framework of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH) initiative.

The initiative was birthed after the West African Health Organisation and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD/WAHO) research revealed that medicines regulatory systems in the sub-region were affected by challenges despite the concerted effort of governments and development partners.

A process to harmonise medicine regulation was, thus, advised with processes, including the inauguration of the Joint MRH steering committee and validation of an action plan and draft regulation being developed to ensure that regulatory oversight on medicines imported and produced locally are stringently monitored and the high incidence of substandard and falsified medicines circulating are reduced.

Deputy Minister of Health, Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, who officially launched the project on the sidelines of the third scientific conference on medical regulation in Africa, explained that the quality of life of the African population equally depends on the type of medicine on the continent.

He was, therefore, optimistic the project would permit the circulation of safe, quality and efficacious medicine in all the ECOWAS member states.

In a speech read on his behalf, Dr Xavier Crespin, Director General of WAHO, expressed his appreciation to partners and member states for supporting the process with funds and technical support.

“Thanks also go to all the regional economic communities who have come here to support us and to share with us their wealth of experience in the field,” he mentioned.

Dr Crespin also assured the gathering of his WAHO’s commitment to the endeavour “for we believe it to be the surest way of improving access to quality, essential medicines for the peoples of this continent.”

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri