The Expert Working Groups (EWG) comprising pharmaceutical experts recently held a 3-day working session in Monrovia, to finalize the regional guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and develop a manual for medicine regulation in West Africa (W/A).
The session, which brought together 63 medical experts and resource persons from the West African sub-region, was held in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, with support from the West African Health Organization (WAHO), in collaboration with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The group’s objective is to develop, review, finalize and harmonize regional guides, SOPs and regional manuals, to obtain certification of medicines, medicines quality control laboratories, quality management, and information management systems.
The manuals, according to the group’s statement, consists of guidelines, SOPs and quality manuals, to ultimately set up a single integrated management system for medicines regulation in all 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
This approach came in the wake of the proliferation of counterfeits, falsified or substandard medicines as discovered by the West African region, led by ECOWAS, through WAHO and UEMOA, in collaboration with technical and financial partners.
The objective, therefore, is to harmonize guidelines in the framework of the overall Medicines Registration Harmonization in West Africa, supported by the World Bank to improve the availability of safe and quality medicines and vaccines in the ECOWAS pharmaceutical market.
In 2014, the group agreed on a single, integrated system for medicines registration management for all ECOWAS countries within the framework of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization program and the Medicines Regulations, Regulatory Harmonization Global Initiative.
David K. Sumo, Director General of the Liberia Medical and Health Product Regulatory Authority, expressed gratitude to WAHO and the West African Economic and Monetary Union for selecting Liberia for such an important event.
Sumo said that harmonizing the regulation of medicines in the region will facilitate the circulation and availability of quality, safe and effective medicines.
He said substandard medicines are a permanent threat to public health and, therefore, “we need to ensure that medicines coming to member countries are safe for human consumption.”