Strengthening Today’s Medicine Supply Chains for Tomorrow’s Challenges

Geneva, May 25, 2023 (PPI-OT): Dr Baseer Achakzai, Director General Health, Pakistan gave a keynote talk in a discussion on the sidelines of the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva. The high-level event titled “Strengthening Today's Medicine Supply Chains for Tomorrow's Challenges” was organized by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and moderated by Dr. Ron Piervincenzi, Chief Executive Officer of USP. Other notable speakers from Drug Regulatory Authority of South African, World Health Organization, and Unitaid were also present.

In his speech, the Dr Achakzai comprehensively described Pakistan’s efforts towards building supply chain resiliency, assuring quality products, and protecting patients from substandard medicines. Dr Achakzai explained that COVID 19 pandemic experience highlighted the need to strengthen medicines regulatory authorities. He said,” Pakistan is enhancing regulatory agility in order to accelerate and facilitate medical product approvals and increase predictability for manufacturers”.

When providing further details, Dr Achakzai highlighted the efforts of the present government towards improving health security and supply chain resiliency through strengthening approaches towards reforms, regulatory systems, increasing local manufacturing capacity and enhancing quality control and capacity of medical diagnostic laboratories. He also appreciated the consistent support from USAID and technical assistance provided by USP through their program, “Promoting the Quality of Medicines Plus” which is credited for making significant strides in achieving WHO benchmarks to advance towards Maturity Level 3.

In response to a question regarding alternate health security measures for safeguarding access to appropriate care and medicines, Dr Achakzai said: “Quality control activities currently undertaken, including strengthening labs for WHO Prequalification, will help increase the resilience of supply chains against external shocks”.

He further noted that with support from, five public medicines testing laboratories in Pakistan have been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pakistan has undoubtedly come a long way from 2012 when 200 people died from taking contaminated cardiac medicine. Mr. Anthony Lakavage, Senior Vice President of USP, provided closing remarks in which he expressed his sincere gratitude to Minister Patel and other speakers. He assured USP’s full support and commitment to Pakistan and other developing countries in their efforts to make resilient systems for ensuring quality medicines to their population.

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