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Pharmaceutical policy approved

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Pharmaceutical policy approved

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) health ministers who met in Guyana over the weekend have approved a Caribbean Pharmaceutical Policy (CPP) that will ensure the region’s access to quality medicine at affordable prices.  
A CARICOM Secretariat statement said that the policy will also assist in ensuring the strengthening of regulatory authorities in the region.
Guyana Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy, who is also chairman of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), said the health ministers were unanimous in their support for the implementation of the CPP.  
The new policy forms an integral part of national pharmaceutical policies developed by Caribbean states and will be integrated as much as possible in other policies related to public health. 
The CPP outlines strategies for equitable access, availability and affordability of all medicines. It also provides for regional frameworks that would ensure the safety, efficacy, therapeutically sound and cost-effective use of medicines by health professionals and consumers.
The Secretariat said that CARICOM has developed the policy guided by the principle that access to medicines is a fundamental human right.
“Within this context, the policy aims to strengthen collaboration among the national pharmaceutical systems in the implementation of mechanisms for joint negotiation for medicines procurement,” it added.
Ramsammy said that an important objective of the CPP is to strengthen regulatory frameworks for medicines at the regional level and increase collaboration among CARICOM member states in ensuring the performance of essential components of medicines regulations. 
 “We will take collective actions to support this … and the regional bodies will help to strengthen national bodies in regulating the entry of medicine and commodities into the region,” Ramsammy noted.
In endorsing the policy, COHSOD also agreed to an implementation mechanism which includes the establishment of an Expanded Technical Advisory Group on Pharmaceutical Policy (TECHPHARM).
This group has primary responsibility for overseeing the implementation and assessment of the CCP. Part of TECHPHARM’s responsibility includes the development and implementation of strategies for pooled negotiations and price monitoring of medicines, concurrent with other sub-regional and regional initiatives.
TECHPHARM will share responsibility with National Health Authorities of participating countries, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),  the World Health Organization (WHO)) along with the CARICOM Secretariat will provide financial and technical support, the statement added. (CMC)