Registering medicines for low-income countries : how suitable are the stringent review procedures of the World Health Organisation, the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency?
Van geertruyden, Jean-Pierre
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Tropical medicine and international health. - Oxford
, p. 23-36
University of Antwerp
New medicines are registered after a resource-demanding process. Unfortunately, in low-income countries (LICs), demand outweighs resources. To facilitate registration in LICs, stringent review procedures of the European Medicines Agency (EMA Article-58), Food and Drug Administration (FDA PEPFAR-linked review) and WHO Prequalification programme have been established. Only the PEPFAR-linked review gives approval, while the others make recommendations for approval. This study assessed the performance and discussed the challenges of these three stringent review procedures. Data from WHO, FDA, EMA, Medline and Internet were analysed. Over 60% of medicines reviewed by stringent review procedures are manufactured in India. Until 2012, WHO prequalified 400 medicines (211 vaccines, 130 antiretrovirals, 29 tuberculostatics, 15 antimalarials and 15 others). PEPFAR-linked review approved 156 antiretrovirals, while EMA Article 58 recommended approval of 3 antiretrovirals, 1 vaccine and 1 antimalarial. WHO Prequalification and PEPFAR-linked review are free of charge and as a result have accelerated access to antiretrovirals. They both built capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, although WHO prequalification relies technically on stringent regulatory authorities and financially on donors. Article-58 offers the largest disease coverage and strongest technical capacities, is costly and involves fewer LICs. To meet the high demand for quality medicines in LICs, these stringent review procedures need to enlarge their disease coverage. To improve registration, EMA Article 58 should actively involve LICs. Furthermore, LIC regulatory activities must not be fully resigned to stringent review procedure.