KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar 13, CMC – The Jamaica government says it is undertaking a review of the registration process for pharmaceutical drugs, in an effort to achieve a more modernised system.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, addressing the meeting on Post-Market Surveillance and the Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which ends later on Wednesday, said the process of modernisation will include the digitisation of records to reduce the average timeline taken to register a drug.
He told the audience that vigilance is required for drug companies desirous of having a foothold in Jamaica, and believes that there should be standardisation in the registration of drugs for those companies.
“They must be reputable, monitored and registered, so that they can appreciate the continuation of established standards,” he said, adding that post-market surveillance of pharmaceuticals is critical in guarding against the possibilities of errors of abuse, in the interest of populations across the Caribbean.
He emphasised that a collaborative effort is needed from the Caribbean region in this regard.
“We have a duty to protect our population. The way the drug market is configured between the original (medication) and the generics, which follow over time… you really have to sieve through to determine what is what and is in the best interest of those we serve,” he said.
Dr Tufton said that according to data, over the last six months, on a monthly basis, more than 200 adverse drug reaction reports were submitted locally to the Pharmacovigilance Unit of the ministry.
CARPHA’s Director of the Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Division, Dr Virginia Asin-Oostburg said post-market surveillance is a novel programme and will be further shaped through close collaboration with member states and other agencies.
Subregional programme coordinator for the Caribbean at the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)/World Health Organisation Jessie Schutt-Aine said a strong regulatory system is the foundation for a strong health system, which is needed for universal health.
“PAHO has been working on these issues for many years, supporting the development of the Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy as well as the roadmap for Regional Regulatory Platform. More recently, PAHO has been working quite closely with CARICOM, CARPHA and member states to advance implementation of the Caribbean Regulatory System,” she said.