Despite needing more resources and government support, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority refuses to renege on its duty to stick to the scientific evidence and keep medicine standards sky high. Two of its top brass explain how the regulator works, how it maintains independence and where it is at in evaluating Covid-19 vaccines, ivermectin and cannabis products.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) monitors and evaluates the full "life cycle" of every authorised health product in South Africa in order to keep the public safe, agreed the regulator's CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, and the chairperson of its board, Professor Helen Rees.
Scientific evidence, and not the interests of competing stakeholders, is what matters most in their decisions.
They were discussing what types of decisions the regulator can make and on what grounds during a recent Daily Maverick webinar facilitated by Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood.
Semete-Makokotlela holds a PhD in Biochemistry as well as a MSc in Management Finance and Investment. She became CEO in January 2020 - just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, pointed out Heywood.
Rees is Executive Director of the University of the Witwatersrand's Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.