AU urges swift ratification of Africa’s continental medicines regulatory body amid COVID-19 outbreak

ADDIS ABABA, June 5 (EI) – The African Union (AU) Commission on Wednesday called on African countries to ratify the Treaty for the establishment of the Africa Medicines Agency (AMA) to effectively contend public health perils, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement came after Mali on Wednesday submitted the instrument of ratification of Africa Medicines Agency (AMA) to the AU Commission, making it the second African nation to ratify the continental document on the establishment of the Africa Medicines Agency after Rwanda.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic experience in Africa, the continent strongly needs the Africa Medicines Agency (AMA) so as to ensure access to safe, quality and efficacious medicines,” the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs, Amira Elfadil, said after receiving the instrument of ratification of AMA from Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali, Michel Sidibe, on Wednesday.

“My profound thanks to the government of Mali and Mali’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Michel Sidibe, on the ratification of the Treaty establishing the Africa Medicines Agency (AMA),” the AU Commissioner said, as she emphasized the need for other African countries to follow Rwanda and Mali in ratifying the continental pact.

“I urge all African Union member states to ratify Africa Medicines Agency (AMA) for the sake of safer and quality medicine and medical products in Africa,” Elfadil stressed.

In May 2018, African health ministers unanimously adopted the draft treaty for the establishment of a single continental body African Medicines Agency for the regulation of medicines and medical products, according to the AU.

According to the AU, Africa has a high disease burden of communicable and non-communicable disease that contributes to a significant market for the pharmaceutical industry, in which counterfeit, fake and substandard drugs are a public health risk contributing significantly to morbidity and mortality.

The AMA, among other things, envisaged coordinating ongoing regulatory systems of medicines in Africa, strengthen and harmonize efforts of the AU-recognized regional economic communities and member states, as well as to provide regulatory guidance.

It also aspires to complement and enhance collaboration and contribute to improving patients’ access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products and health technologies on the continent, according to the AU.

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