(2002; 166 pages)
Strengthening drug regulatory authorities in small Pacific Island nations
Mr Peter Zinck, Fiji
The South Pacific Islands comprise 14 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Fiji. The total population is around 26 million, of whom 20 million are in Australia and New Zealand and 4 million in Papua New Guinea. The remaining 2 million are divided among the other 11 countries.
The regulatory authorities of these small import-oriented countries face many challenges, particularly where gross domestic product is low. Drug budgets are limited, purchasing power is small and it is difficult to source products that are of good quality, reliable and from credible suppliers. Furthermore, because human resources are limited, administrative processes and systems, technical capacity and quality control measures are generally inadequate.
Because of these limitations, DRAs in small Pacific Island nations are exploring the opportunities for regional collaboration in the areas of sharing relevant regulatory information, drug registration, pharmacovigilance and GMP inspection in the hope of strengthening their regulatory capacity. Like New Zealand, which has a strategic alliance with Australia, the small Pacific Island nations are looking for potential twinning arrangements with key regulatory authorities in the region.