MPs to debate National Drug Authority Bill

Parliament is set to debate a Bill seeking to establish a National Drug Authority (NDA) which was presented to the House in December.
NDA, will among others, ensure that the drugs brought into the country are registered. Net  photo.
NDA, will among others, ensure that the drugs brought into the country are registered. Net photo.

Parliament is set to debate a Bill seeking to establish a National Drug Authority (NDA) which was presented to the House in December.

NDA is aimed at improving safety and quality assurance of drugs in the country.

According to Augustine Habimana, the Director General of Communications and Outreach at Parliament, the Bill meant to improve safety and quality assurance of drugs has already been debated by the Social Affairs Committee and it is expected to be presented to the Plenary soon after lawmakers return from recess on June 5.

Once the Food and Medicine draft law is passed, NDA will follow up on, identify and analyse information on the pharmaceutical products that are usually subject to global drug safety monitoring and submit reports there on.

The NDA will also help address a number of challenges such as ensuring that the drugs brought into the country are registered and making sure that pharmacies have licenses, according to John Patrick Mwesigye, Director of the Pharmacy Task Force in the Ministry of Health.

Mwesigye noted that through the NDA, clinical trials for medicines will be done in line with national and international regulations.

“This will help protect the public from consumption of poor quality medicines, counterfeits and illegal drugs. Through the NDA, the public will as well be educated on drug usage,” he told The New Times.

He said currently the Ministry of Health is doing the work that is supposed to be done by the proposed drug authority.

The NDA will be regulated by the ministry.

According to Mwesigye, the draft Bill was taken to parliament in December 2012.

Some of the roles of the NDA will include manufacturing and distribution.

The authority, according to Lambert Ingabire, a pharmacist at King Faisal Hospital, will come in handy and will take the lead in formulating a national drug policy, thus ensuring availability of cost effective, efficacious, and good quality drugs.

“The country’s lack of a national drug authority has hindered efforts to improve procurement of pharmaceuticals in one way or the other but this will be no more. This will also be a proper entity for checking the quality of drugs in detail hence reducing counterfeits. We will be assured of good quality drugs which will lower risk of sub standard ones,” he said.

Currently, drugs must pass the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards before they are allowed into the country.

But drug supply contracts are currently awarded by the Ministry of Health to manufacturers with current certificates of Good Manufacturing Practices certified by the World Health Organisation.

In cases where falsified medicines are found, authorities collaborate with the Rwanda National Police force and Interpol to prosecute culprits.

Under the same law, the Rwanda Food and Medicine Authority will be set up to monitor compliance with laws and regulations relating to the safety of food, pharmaceutical products, medical devices, poisons, cosmetics, herbal medicines and other health commodities among many other responsibilities.

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