Background: Seven national medicines regulatory authorities in the East African Community (EAC) have embraced regulatory reliance, harmonization and work sharing through the EAC Medicines Regulatory Harmonization programme. Measuring the performance of regulatory systems provides key baseline information to build on regulatory system-strengthening strategies. Therefore, the aim of the study was to evaluate the regulatory performance of the EAC joint scientific assessment of applications approved between 2018 and 2021. Methods: Utilising a data metrics tool, information was collected reflecting timelines for various milestones including submission to screening, scientific assessment and communication of regional recommendations for biologicals and pharmaceuticals that received a positive regional recommendation for product registration from 2018 to 2021. Results: Several challenges as well as possible solutions were identified, including median overall approval times exceeding the EAC 465-day target and median times to issue marketing authorisation following EAC joint assessment recommendation that far exceeded the 116-day target. Recommendations included establishment of an integrated information management system and automation of the capture of regulatory timelines through the EAC metric tool. Conclusions: Despite initiative progress, work is required to improve the EAC joint regulatory procedure to achieve regulatory systems-strengthening and ensure patients’ timely access to safe, efficacious and quality medicines.
- African medicines Agency
- EAC Medicines regulatory harmonization (MRH)
- East African community (EAC)
- Joint scientific assessment
- National medicines regulatory authorities (NMRA)
- Regulatory assessment