Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya Speaks out against New Law Seeking to Regulate the Country’s Food and Drug Industries

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK), the umbrella body of Pharmacists practicing in Kenya, has this week announced a review of a proposed law that may negatively affect the country’s food and drug industries.

The law, dubbed the Kenya Food and Drugs Authority (KFDA) Bill, seeks to launch a combined regulator for the sectors. It comes just as the USA, which created this duel regulation model, abandons its own Food and Drug Administration (FDA) citing grave consequences from the conjoined regulation.

Commenting on the matter, Dr Louis Machogu, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, said it was ill advised set up a body that was literally being abandoned elsewhere as damaging for both healthcare and consumers.

“PSK knows of no reason for rushing the creation of the country’s ‘next generation’ regulator. Our current regulators in both food and pharmaceuticals are fully operational, and the point of reforming the regulatory system is to improve it from an existing base,” explained said Dr Machogu.

“A 100-day hurtle to a model that is being abandoned elsewhere is creating huge risk completely unnecessarily,” he added.

The PSK is concerned that the draft Bill is being drawn up without due consultations and without the involvement of pharmacists or Kenyan healthcare experts. The regulatory body has therefore announced that it is launching a committee to review the Bill in full, and will be publishing the results of the review in January.

“Rushed legislation without adequate and practical impact assessments constitutes a ticking time bomb,” said Dr Machogu.

“We are concerned to see the creation of a new regulator at all, rather than an upgrade in the scope and methodology of the existing and functioning pharmaceuticals regulator, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB). The one urgent action was to align the PPB’s remit with the Health Act and the needs of Universal Health Cover (UHC),” he continued.

“However, of far graver concern is the decision to combine the regulation of medicines and medical equipment with the regulation of food, which is a completely different and huge remit that has been shown to diminish the quality of regulation across all,” he said.

In the US, the White House announced the reorganization of its FDA in June 2018, having determined that the current structure, formulated in the early 1900s, was outdated and creating greater risk, inefficiency, and inconsistency in ensuring safety for consumers.

The regulation of food and drugs is now being separated to deliver better results in each sector.

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