Burundi is looking into the adoption of a pharmaceutical bill and establishment of a food and medicine regulatory authority to be in line with EAC standards. Health professionals and pharmacists say this will improve drug regulation.
The bill comes to replace a decree existing since 1980. The later presents some deficiencies as it has never been updated. The General Director of Pharmacies, Laboratory and Medicine, Emmanuel Bamenyekanye says Burundi has to adopt the pharmaceutical bill as agreed between the States of the East African Community to harmonise national laws for better medicine regulation; as stated in Article 118, chapter 21. “The EAC council of ministers has urged all the EAC partner states to review, update, strengthen and harmonise national pharmaceutical laws”, he says.
Bamenyekanye says the bill will bring innovation once adopted as it is adapted to the time and realities of the moment to strengthen medicine regulation in Burundi. “The existing decree has become out-dated. It is not adapted to meet today’s realities. This bill will help to regulate medicine standards once adopted,” he says.
He also says the decree dating from 1980 has gaps as there is a big difference between the way of life between 1980 and 2017. “In 1980, people ate healthy and natural food. There was no internet and there were very few factories making medicines…there is a need to update them,” he says.
He says there is going to be a new regulatory authority of medicine and food which will operate in accordance with the bill to be approved in order to enforce the medicine regulation. “The authority will focus on the drug quality, effects, and the prices to improve health quality. It will help the population to get high quality medicine at an affordable price”, says Bamenyekane.
Désire Bizimana, Chairman of the council of pharmacists’ in Burundi acknowledges the setting up of the regulatory authority and the implementation of the bill. He says this will improve pharmacists’ working conditions and people’s health. “There are some people who sell drugs without having the right and competence to do it. The regulatory authority will help control medicines following the law to be adopted”, he says.
All EAC member states have already adopted laws governing drugs and established food and medicine regulatory authorities which meet EAC standards except Burundi. The bill has already been introduced to the parliament to be analysed.
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