THE East Africa Community members states regulatory systems for manufacturing, importation and distribution of medicines should be harmonized, it has been suggested.
A section of pharmaceutical manufacturers, importers and wholesalers are already in Dar es Salaam for a five-day workshop that started on Wednesday to deliberate and share experiences on applicable standards as part of the initiatives to integrate the sector.
Opening the workshop organized by the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), the Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Donnan Mmbando, said the move had come at the right time, when the region was implementing a four-year Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action 2012-2016.
"The move guides the EAC Secretariat and Partner States towards evolving an efficient and effective pharmaceutical manufacturing industry that can supply national, regional and international markets with safe, efficacious and good quality drugs," he said in a speech read on his behalf by the TDFA Director General, Mr Hiiti Sillo.
The CMO said some of the strategic objectives of the EAC Action Plan were focused on the strengthening of the national medicines regulatory capacity in the region and development of appropriate skills and knowledge on the pharmaceutical production.
Tanzania, he said will be ready to support the recommendation of the workshop in ensuring that medicines circulating in the local market meet safety, efficacy and quality specifications.
Earlier, Mr Silo said the workshop would dwell on issues regarding wholesaler registration, import and export certifications, good distribution practices, warehousing, registration of medicines, and counterfeit medicines.
"Quality assurance, vendor audits and roles of other implementing partners in improving access to essential medicines of good quality in Tanzania is some of the topics to be covered in the workshop," he said.
Of late, Mr Sillo said, there were a number of irregularities in terms of quality management systems in the region where each country had its own system of regulating drugs and medical supplies which was not healthy at all.
One of the participants, Mr Lucas Mwalewela, told reporters that Tanzania was unable to adequately manufacture drugs to cater for the country needs due to the fact that medicine manufacturing was very expensive.
A representative from the USAID, who sponsored the workshop, Mr Keith Hummel, said his organization would keep on supporting the government and the private sectors' investments to improve the health sector in the country.