Food, Drug department to clamp down on inferior drugs

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Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), Marlan Cole  has announced that by December 2016, a Pharmacovigilance Centre for monitoring and inspecting drugs will be set up.

Pharmacovigilance is the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licenced for use, especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions.

This announcement came yesterday during brief remarks at a Pharmacovigilance awareness workshop at Duke Lodge where the GA-FDD in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) is creating sensitisation among health officials.

Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, Marlan Cole, WHO team officer Leticia Megias, Medicine Safety representative, WHO Geneva,  Dr. Shanthi Pal, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, PAHO/WHO representative Dr. William Adu-Krow, team leader of the BRICS medicine alliance, Dr. Gurumurthy Parthasarathi (all seated at front) with participants of the Pharmacovigilance sensitisation workshop
Seated at front, from left, are Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, Marlan Cole; WHO team officer Leticia Megias; Medicine Safety representative, WHO Geneva, Dr. Shanthi Pal; Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings; PAHO/WHO representative Dr. William Adu-Krow, and team leader of the BRICS medicine alliance Dr. Gurumurthy Parthasarathi,  with participants of the Pharmacovigilance sensitisation workshop

Facilitators of the workshop were PAHO/WHO representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow; Medicine Safety representative, WHO Geneva,  Dr. Shanthi Pal; WHO team officer, Leticia Megias; and Team leader of the BRICS medicine alliance Dr. Gurumurthy Parthasarathi.

Making reference to a presentation made earlier by Dr. Pal, Cole said that “the presentation would have indicated to us, all areas in blue, are those that are members of the WHO reporting system and all those areas that are in white would represent those countries that are currently not being represented. I can assure that we at the Food and Drug Department are working and as of December 2016 we would be in blue as well.”

Guyana is currently not a reporting country, which means there is no system for nurses at health facilities to report any adverse reaction to drugs that have been administered to patients. There is also no tracking system that would allow for one to identify the production date, batch number and other necessary information that help the identification process.

Cole pointed out that, “… a pharmacovigilance centre will allow us to ensure that drugs are of the requisite quality.”

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings noted that, “Indeed all medicines, all products imported or manufactured in Guyana, are subject to a strict testing and assessment of their quality, efficacy and safety before being authorised, and once placed on the market they continue to be monitored so as to assure that any aspect which could impact the safety profile of a medicine is detected and assessed and that necessary measures are taken.”

Minister Cummings further stressed, “Pharmacovigilance is crucial to the Ministry of Public Health’s work in ensuring that Guyanese benefit from the best quality medicines making them safe, efficacious and hence the need for ongoing surveillance.”

According to the Government Information Agency, the ongoing workshop is aimed at providing the health officials with the necessary information relating to pharmacovigilance and their role in the implementation of the programme.

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