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CARICOM countries exposed to training to better monitor medicines

A section of the workshop participants

The Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), is currently hosting a Post Market Surveillance and Pharmacovigilance Workshop in Guyana, to improve monitoring of medicines for safety and quality in CARICOM states.

The sub-regional workshop is intended to expose senior regulatory officials from CARICOM countries to key approaches and tools that can advance understanding of post-market surveillance and pharmacovigilance; related to the prevention, detection, and response to substandard and falsified medicines.

The training exercise is also intended to assist participants to refine their national approaches to these areas. And also, to develop in-country priorities and strategies to address these problems, government’s Department of Public Information said in a statement.

UNDP’s Advisor for Regulatory Systems Strengthening in Medicines, Charles Preston explained that the first aspect of training exercise deals with the regulation of medicines. This looks at the steps taken – what are procedures and how is the regulatory authority notified – when there is substandard or a falsified medicine in the market; what are procedures and how is the regulatory authority notified.

The other aspect of the training deals with Pharmacovigilance, which is the science of drug safety – what happens if the medicine itself is unsafe and the patients have an adverse reaction.

Preston noted that the overarching goal is to ensure Member States are knowledgeable of the necessary steps to be taken when reporting to the WHO’s Global Database so that the organisation can track when medicines are harmful and cause negative reactions to patients.

Among countries participating in the three-day workshop are Guyana, Belize, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti.

The monitoring of medicines for safety and quality is an important component of improving access to medicines and achieving universal health.