Saira Afzal Tarar launches WHO global scheme

July 20, 2014

 Islamabad - 20 July, 2014 - State Minister National  Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar launched World Health Organization (WHO) global scheme -- Good Governance for Medicine (GGM) Programme -- in Pakistan with an objective to prevent corruption by promoting good governance in the pharmaceutical sector and to ensure provision of essential medicines to the masses. She expressed this while talking with the group of professionals involved in this nation wide study. Mr. A.Q Javed Director Quality Assurance DRAP is the National Focal Person for this initiative from the public sector while Prof. Dr. Azhar Hussain Dean Pharmacy Hamdard University and Dr. Toufeeq ur Rehman Assistant Professor Quaid-e- Azam University are the National Assessors for the study.  


Since the medicines represent one of the largest components of health expenditure, the GGM Programme is the first initiative of its kind which has been kicked off in Pakistan to bring revolutionary reforms in the system that revolves around the registration, manufacturing, distribution, supply, and selling of drugs. It will help avert the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore’s, like drug reaction scam.
             

State Minister said that WHO had selected 15 countries from 22 member states of the Eastern Mediterranean region, including Pakistan, to run the global programme as a pilot project. The other countries are: Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunis, Syria and Yemen.
            

She said the GGM Programme currently operates in 26 countries across the six WHO regions and these states are at different stages of implementation. Other major reasons associated with the scheme are to curb corruption in pharmaceutical sector by increasing transparency and accountability and promoting ethical practices.
             

Mr A.Q Javed said the DRAP had been giving much weightage to this programme because despite many efforts to make essential medicines accessible to all, it was estimated that one-third of the global population did not have regular access to them.
 The GGM Programme was launched in three steps/phases that included national transparency assessment, development of a national GGM framework and implementation, he said. The scheme would be materialized within about three months in phases.

PHASE I:

 

She said that the first phase is to measure transparency in the public pharmaceutical sector by providing a comprehensive analysis of the level of transparency and its vulnerability to corruption. The national assessment will be carried out using the WHO standardized assessment instrument which focuses on central functions of the pharmaceutical regulation and supply systems. The objective of the national assessment is to provide the country with a comprehensive picture of the level of transparency and potential vulnerability to corruption of eight functions of the pharmaceutical sector: registration of medicines, control of medicine promotion, inspection of establishments, control of clinical trials, licensing of establishments, selection of essential medicines, procurement of medicines and distribution of medicines.            

The assessment is an essential step in developing national programme for promoting good governance in the public pharmaceutical sector and revising related administrative procedures through a national consultation process. The transparency assessment is not an end in itself, but rather the beginning of a process aimed at bringing long-lasting changes through efforts to promote good governance practices among health professionals in the public pharmaceutical sector.
     

She further added the implementation of assessment’s recommendations will build a more transparent and accountable pharmaceutical sector, improving equitable access to good-quality and safe medicines.

 

PHASE II:

 

She said following the national assessment, the basic components of the GGM Programme will be defined through a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and will be based on experience accumulated in various countries.            

These components will include an ethical framework and code of conduct, regulations and administrative procedures, collaboration mechanisms with other good governance and anti-corruption initiatives, whistle-blowing mechanisms, sanctions for reprehensible acts and a GGM implementing task force.
             

The results of the assessment in Phase I -- identifying the loopholes in the systems -- will help in applying the discipline-based approach. In the light of the findings, laws and administrative structures and procedures will be adjusted in terms of medicines regulation and supply.

 

PHASE III:

 

The last step will be to implement a national programme of good governance for medicines and institutionalization. The implementation of the programme requires the systematic training of government officials and health professionals.