Stringent measures being pursued in acquiring medical drugs

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 29, 2018

The Ministry of Public Health is continuing to improve all its systems necessary for the acquisition of quality medical drugs and supplies.

Essentially, this process is referred to as “pharmacovigilance” and the involves the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem. It aims to enhance patient care and safety in relation to the use of medicines while at the same time support public health programmes by providing reliable, balanced information for the effective assessment of the risk-benefit profile of medicines.

To this end, the Health Ministry will be relying on the completion of the Government Analyst Food and Drug laboratory where scientists and other specialists will adequately examine and test drugs for medical use. This will allow for the acquisition of quality drugs which will be dispensed through the public healthcare system.

Further, the ministry is strengthening the capacity of its procurement department while at the same time strengthen the legislation governing the food and drug department.  Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence noted that an inferior standard of supplies is basically what is made available to countries like Guyana and others in the region.

“A group of people throughout the world are producing drugs that are not potent or does not meet the standards and many of these drugs are being sent to less developed countries like those in our region and because of our financial constraints we are getting caught up in it,” she explained.

In this regard, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) health ministers have been in discussion with their counterparts at the WHO level to address this issue. It is hoped that further discussion on this matter will continue at the upcoming CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, which will be held in Jamaica.

Minister Lawrence said, “there has been some discussion in Geneva about us doing things differently as a region and we hope that will come up at CARICOM where we can purchase the critical drugs together as a lump-sum, all of that we have explored. We also were talking about CARPHA and what other roles they can play in terms of helping us.”

WHO established its Programme for International Drug Monitoring in response to the thalidomide disaster detected in 1961 however, WHO promotes pharmacovigilance at the country level.

By: Delicia Haynes.

Images: Jules Gibson.