The goal of this conference is to promote collaboration among national drug regulatory authorities by facilitating the exchange of information and fostering discussion of issues of international relevance, such as access to quality pharmaceuticals and harmonization of standards and clinical trials. From WHO’s perspective, this conference acts as a network and platform through which we can promote global consensus on important issues. I am pleased to announce that the Director-General of WHO has decided to designate access to quality medicines as a priority in the 2004-2005 Programme Budget of WHO.
I would like to mention some of the challenges we are all facing today. We are facing globalization, with increased cross-border trade; we see counterfeit drugs marketed within and between countries; and we see constant advances in science and technology. How can regulatory authorities keep pace with the changes? All of these issues will be covered in discussions over the next four days.
I am totally convinced that, by working together, we can overcome these challenges and contribute to the welfare of the world’s population by ensuring access to quality medicine.