Essential medicines and health products

Taking the panic out of emergencies

Emergency preparedness was one of the hot topics of ICDRA 2016, the international conference of drug regulatory authorities that takes place every two years. ICDRA provides regulators with a platform to exchange ideas and set priorities. This year it was held in Cape Town, South Africa, and the over 100 participating regulatory agencies decided to include health emergencies in their discussions. Recounting their experiences of the West Africa Ebola epidemic, regulators who had been in the eye of the storm outlined the lessons they learned and sketched out some of the ways we can progress to be better prepared for the next epidemic. The message to their fellow regulators was: “It could be you in the hot seat next time!”

First WHO prequalified hepatitis C rapid test opens the door to expanded treatment

WHO has just prequalified its first hepatitis C virus (HCV) rapid diagnostic test, a tool that will aid diagnosis of HCV in low- and middle-income countries and improve access to treatment.

World’s Drug Regulatory Authorities to Work Towards Global Access to Quality Medical Products

Underfunding, under-staffing and weak policies are hampering national regulatory authorities’ capacity to advance access to quality medical products and safeguard patient safety, particularly in developing countries. To address these challenges, the world’s regulators will meet in Cape Town on 29 November-2 December for the biennial International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA), whose theme this year is ‘Patients are waiting: how regulators collectively make a difference.’

New method developed to measure antibiotic consumption to help countries address resistance

Antimicrobial therapies – such as antivirals and antibiotics – have played an essential role in the treatment of infections in humans and animals and have significantly improved public health for the last 100 years. Without antimicrobials, serious infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis could not be treated, complex medical interventions - such as organ transplantations – would not be possible due to the high risk of hospital acquired infections, and care of premature babies would be a serious challenge.

Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania