The First ECO High Level Drug Authorities (HLDA) Meeting on
“Drug Regulatory Networking”
(Tehran, November 13-15, 2007)
The First ECO High Level Drug Authorities (HLDA) Meeting on “Drug Regulatory Networking” was held at the ECO Secretariat Tehran on 13-15 November, 2007, hosted by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Delegates from eight ECO Member States, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan actively participated in the meeting. The representative of WHO/EMRO also attended the meeting.
The meeting was aimed at exploring the possibility of establishing a Network of the Drug Regulatory Authorities among ECO Member States and identifying activities/programs for regional cooperation in the field of drug regulation.
The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, Minister of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He emphasized the importance of pharmaceutical networking to improve the quality of pharmaceutical and biological products in member states and called for joint efforts by all member states to deal with the challenges which threatened the safety of drugs. He referred to the experiences of the EU, ASEAN, and GCC in harmonizing of their drug regulatory affairs and proposed a similar approach for ECO member states.
The delegates delivered Country Reports giving details of their national activities with regard to pharmaceutical and biological regulatory affairs; the state of counterfeit medicines, availability of essential medicines, local capacities for the production of pharmaceuticals and for educating pharmaceutical scientists. During the three day meeting the following six broader themes were also discussed in detail:
(i) ECO Drug Regulatory Authorities Network
(ii) Drug Regulation and Quality Assurance of Medicines
(iii) Quality Control Laboratory Network
(iv) Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring
(v) Counterfeit Medicines
(vi) Emerging Challenges of Drug Registration
The meeting agreed on a set of recommendations including establishment of “ECO Drug Regulatory Authority Network”. This network will promote collaboration of Drug Regulatory Authorities for all aspects of quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products; promote communication and collaboration between Drug Regulatory Authorities and the pharmaceutical industry; and facilitate technical collaboration.
The meeting also agreed to set up a High Level Experts Group to promote cooperation in priority areas, developing a unified definition of counterfeit medicines, discuss possible measures to combat it at the regional level, and review regulation in order to promote collaboration on the subject.
The following priority areas were identified for future cooperation. 1. Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP); 2. Counterfeit medicines; 3. Drug safety (Adverse Drug Reactions); 4. Exchange of knowledge and expertise; 5. Registration of medicines; 6. Herbal and traditional Medicines; 7. Drug Research and sharing Drug Information; 8. Drug testing and drug control laboratories.