Plans to operationalize the Food and Drugs Authority took shape Wednesday after a cabinet meeting appointed on Wednesday, Dr. Charles Karangwa as its acting Director General.
This follows the enactment by parliament of the law establishing the authority which was passed at the end of December last year.
Karangwa, who holds a PhD in pharmaceutical science in toxicology from Liege University in Belgium, has been working at the University of Rwanda.
He has been the co-promoter of the University Laboratory of Analysis of Foodstuffs, Medicines, Water and Toxicants (LADAMET) at the School of Medicine and Pharmacy.
He is also a senior lecturer of toxicology at the university and describes himself as a researcher interested in the assessment of human exposure to chemicals especially biological chemicals including drugs, persistent organic pollutants in environment and food contaminants.
While explaining the draft law before parliament last year, the State Minister in charge of Public and Primary Healthcare, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, said that lack of such an institution was hindering proper regulation of food and drugs in the country and it was a risk to the health of the population.
The absence of the body also threatened the ongoing potential investments and opportunities in pharmaceutical and food industry in Rwanda while the country needs to strategically position itself for international competiveness in pharmaceutical regulation, research, and development, the minister said.
The law nº 003/2018 of 09/02/2018 establishing Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority and determining its mission, organisation and functioning says the body will regulate pharmaceutical products, vaccines, human and veterinary processed foods and other biological products used in clinical as drugs food supplements, food fortificants, fortified foods, poisonous substances, herbal medicines, medicated cosmetics, medical devices, tobacco and tobacco products, management of unfit pharmaceutical and food products and clinical trials on pharmaceutical products for human and veterinary use.
It has to ensure the compliance with quality standards relating to the manufacture, storage, sale, distribution, use, import and export, labels, packages and raw materials used in the manufacture of products regulated under the law.
Furthermore, the body will establish, approve and publish the list of human and veterinary food and pharmaceutical products as well as other products regulated under this Law for which marketing authorization has been granted; and the list of prohibited cosmetics.
Among others, it has to conduct research and studies on food and pharmaceutical products and publish the findings in order to promote investment; and to advise the Government on matters regarding the products regulated under this Law.