Exclusive-EU, Gates Foundation to support African medicines agency -source By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person passes by on a scooter in front of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo


By Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union and the Gates Foundation are set to announce a package of financial support for the nascent efforts to set up an African medicines regulator in a bid to boost the continent’s drugs and vaccine production, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The treaty establishing the African Medicines Agency (AMA) came into force in November but the agency currently exists only on paper. Decisions over who will lead the agency and where it will be headquartered are scheduled for this year.

Financial and technical support to the new agency is seen as crucial to help it to begin operations. This in turn would be a boost for the continent’s vaccine and drugs industry, which needs a trusted regulator to flourish.

The European Commission, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Gates Foundation will invest more than 100 million euros ($113.93 million) to support AMA and African national regulatory agencies, a person familiar with the plan told Reuters on Friday.

The goal is to allow these agencies to achieve what the World Health Organization (WHO) defines as Maturity Level 3 for vaccine producing, which is “the minimum WHO requirement for effective regulatory oversight for quality local vaccine production,” the official said.

According to an internal EU Commission document with slides, seen by Reuters, part of the money will be in grants and will also go to the European Medicines Agency.

EMA, which is the only continent-wide drugs regulator so far will “provide technical assistance to African counterparts via scientific collaboration, joint inspections, training, and notably the AMA,” the document says.


The race to establish the AMA comes after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the region’s dependence on imported vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. Just over 5% of medicines, and 1% of vaccines, consumed by the population of 1.2 billion people are produced locally.

Africa initially struggled to get COVID-19 vaccine doses as rich countries snapped up limited supplies. Deliveries to the continent later picked up, but just 10% of Africans are fully vaccinated.

Efforts are now underway to increase production but a regulator is necessary to approve drugs.

Preparing for future pandemics is only one reason a continental regulator is crucial for Africa, experts say.

Disparate regulations across 54 countries, and scant transparency, have led some pharmaceutical companies to drop efforts to register their products, leading to limited availability of important medicines in many African nations.

A lack of stringent oversight has enabled counterfeit drugs to flood African markets, in some cases causing needless deaths and fuelling scepticism of medicine.

The EU’s push to support the new regulator is part of a broad strategy to check China and Russia for influence in Africa, bloc officials in Brussels told Reuters. Brussels has donated hundreds of millions of COVID-19 doses to Africa in the past year.

($1 = 0.8777 euros)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.