Adopted in February 2019 by the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the African Medicines Agency (AMA) is set to provide regulatory leadership on access to safe, effective, good quality and affordable essential medicines and health technologies through coordination of on-going regulatory systems.
AMA will also strengthen and harmonize efforts by the African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Health Organizations and the Member States while providing them with regulatory guidance among others.
According to the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the Republic of Gabon has become the latest country to heed the call for the ratification of the African Medicines Agency Treaty (AMAT) when it signed the agreement at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa on 20 April 2020.
On the margins of the March Sittings of the PAP Permanent Committees, the Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs convened a meeting to review the status of the AMAT and sensitize representatives of the continental Parliament on the need to promote the ratification of the treaty at the national level, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting was in line with the PAP’s mandate to encourage national and regional Parliaments to ratify and integrate treaties adopted by the AU into their legal systems. The PAP says the latest signature of the treaty by Gabon is a positive step in the right direction. To date, Rwanda alone has ratified the Treaty while 16 other States have only signed and are yet to complete the ratification process.
The African Parliamentary body stressed the urgent need for more countries to come to the table and ratify this instrument whose importance has been demonstrated by the current fight against Covid-19.
As the world was starting to realize the devastating impact of the Covid-19, the AU legislative organ maintained it was appropriate to engage different stakeholders on the readiness of Africa’s health sector and coordinated efforts.
In this regard, the PAP Committee on Health invited the NEPAD for a review and information session on the AMAT at a time when the AU Member States grapple with proliferation of falsified medical products that have adverse effects on the health of users.
PAP further noted that “The AMAT aims to help African countries improve on the fragmented regulatory systems for product registration. This will in turn help end the sale of substandard medical products to our people by unscrupulous suppliers.”