It is important for drugs utilized by medical facilities to be subjected to continuous monitoring even after they would have been registered and found to have met the requirements of watch-dog agencies.
This is the assertion of Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department [GA-FDD] of the Ministry of Public Health, Mr. Marlan Cole.
Cole’s remarks came during a recent forum aimed at raising awareness about the importance of ensuring that measures are in place to ensure that only safe drugs are given clearance for use.
The forum was a three-day Sub-Regional Workshop on Post Market Surveillance and Pharmacovigilance of Medicines at the Quamina Street, Georgetown Cara Lodge Hotel.
The workshop focused mainly on regulations and procedures for potentially substandard medicines within the market and the science of drug safety.
Representatives from five CARICOM countries, namely Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago participated in the workshop.
Embracing such a venture was predictable since Guyana this year became a full member of the Uppsala, Sweden-based Pharmacovigilance Centre. This move has put the country in a better position to help protect its citizens from fake drugs and medicines and counterfeit and dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Cole at the recent forum said that as a financial member of the Pharmacovigilance Centre, Guyana will make official reports about imitation https://www.bing.com/search?q=define+imitationdrugs, phony medicines, pirated pharmaceuticals and other concerns about imports in the sector.
The Centre, Cole explained, receives reports and is tasked with forwarding them to the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation [PAHO/WHO] for action.
Mr. Charles Preston, PAHO/WHO’s Advisor for Regulatory System and Strengthening of Medicines said the forum was to enlighten Member States on how to report to the WHO systems to track the threats and negative impact of medicines on patients.
“There are two WHO systems that persons can use to assist with substandard and falsified medicines, and we want persons to send more reports into these systems in order to monitor patterns and adverse reactions of medicine consumed by patients,” Preston disclosed during the forum.
Based on PAHO data, CARICOM states face multiple challenges in conducting regulatory functions, in large part because of their small populations and small economies. It has been found, too, that limited capacity can allow dangerous products to be used by patients, such as substandard and falsified medicines [SF], or medicines with intrinsically unacceptable risks.
In order to build its capacity, Guyana has been putting deliberate measures in place.
A pilot programme was launched at the West Demerara Regional Hospital Essequibo Islands/West Demerara [Region Three]; Suddie Hospital, Region Two [Pomeroon/Supenaam] and at the sole referral hospital in the capital city – the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC]. These facilities have been tasked with filling drug reporting forms to track adverse drug reaction on users and receive feedback which will be uploaded and sent to Uppsala, Sweden for further investigation.
According to Cole, the GA-FDD is awaiting its first set of reports from the three pilot institutions. It will shortly launch a survey to discern the perception of doctors and nurses about the initiative.
He stated that previously, there was a rapid alert system for WHO where regulators in the Caribbean would be given a password to upload the names of substandard drugs that are in each territory’s system.
Recently, an upgraded system, the WHO Drug Monitoring System [WDMS], has been put in place, which will allow two persons from Guyana to access this facility.
Director of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Drugs within the Public Health Ministry, Mr. Oneil Atkins, who also attended the recent three-day forum, said that, “the systems in place are a great boost for the pharmaceutical industry and a major uplift for patient safety.”
The forum also saw presentations and interactive case studies on post-market surveillance by experts who manage WHO’s Global Surveillance and Monitoring System [GSMS] for SF medicines.
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