The Ministry of Health (MoH) has taken steps to put in place a better pharmaceutical sector by amending the existing laws and regulations that govern the importation of medicines and their usage in Rwanda.
This was revealed yesterday by Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, at the opening of a five-day validation workshop aimed at coming up with amendments to the current law.
“The validation of the regulations in the pharmaceutical sector has come at a time when we are in the process of harmonizing regulations in the EAC sectors, and the sector is among the first ones to be completed in this process,” said Binagwaho.
She further noted that Rwanda is far behind other EA states as far as pharmaceutical regulations are concerned, citing the lack of a National Drug Authority as one of the biggest setbacks.
According to Joseph Kabatende, an inspector with MoH, the current pharmaceutical law that was passed in 1999 has no drug authority body to ensure that regulatory and supervisory policies are put in place.
He added that the law also does not satisfactorily address the implementation of the law, a fact that has triggered the call for its update.
“The National Drug Authority has to be operational in order to enforce a system that will track down irrational consumption and prescription, substandard, counterfeit and harmful medicines that are imported without being evaluated,” Kabatende said.
Binagwaho told participants that after the review, the Ministry of Health will push for the new pharmacy law to go through parliament so that it can be promulgated as soon as possible.
“The overall objective of the law is to improve the health of the people by improving the availability of safe, quality medicines for treatment of neglected and priority diseases through upgrading the medical regulations and standards,” Binagwaho added.