Call for unified herbal medicines GCC registry
Manama, June 25, 2014
A body that regulates drugs coming into the GCC wants to create a unified database of herbal medicines permitted by all Gulf countries in hopes of controlling prices.
The GCC Central Committee for Drugs (GCC-DR) also plans to closely monitor the consumption of the herbs in all six states in order to take unified action against any side-effects in future, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Committee members discussed introducing unified prices for alternative medications as part of an ongoing scheme during their 67th meeting in Bahrain yesterday (June 24), but said the herbs needed to be classified first.
"At present we do not have central registration for herbal medicines, which has to be addressed prior to unifying the prices of these medicines," said National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) chief executive Dr Baha Eldin Fateha.
"Central registration is important because, without this practice, it is now taking a long time to individually price these medicines before releasing it to the market.
"Once we have the central registration of these drugs in place, then automatically the price unification can be applied.
"As of now, each country individually registers these drugs and prices for the same medicine which vary in different member states.
"By registering them centrally with date and price, there is also no need to re-register these medicines over and over, which will also save time."
Dr Al Fateha said they will monitor herbal medicines introduced in the GCC market for any side effects.
"We are talking of liquid and capsule medicine originated from natural herbs in this category and if there are any side effects spotted by one member country, it could be alerted to the other," he explained.
"This will help in calling for a unified action."
The committee also discussed the registration of generic medicines and vitamins, said Dr Fateha.
"When we talk about generic medicines, we are very strict in ensuring that these medicines have proven their efficacy in par with branded medicines," he added.
The meeting will end today and committee members will discuss price reduction of herbal and generic medicines and vitamins, said Dr Fateha.
The NHRA announced in January a reduction in the price of the most commonly used medications, as part of a multi-phased plan to unify the cost of medications across the GCC.
Prices of antibiotics, skin medication and drugs used by HIV/Aids patients are also due to be reduced in October. - TradeArabia News Service