Health sector stakeholders were on Thursday briefed on the importance of having safe and qualitative pharmaceutical drugs on the local market.Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) Director, Marlan ColeAt a workshop held at Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown, the health sector stakeholders were brought up to date on the professional standards of the Caribbean Regulatory System, to strengthen the function and regulatory capacity in Guyana.Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), Marlan Cole, noted that even though Guyana has stringent measures in procuring drugs, Government recognises the challenges attending registration of quality pharmaceutical drugs locally.Cole said it is critical to ensure that “those who are responsible for procurement, those who are responsible for drugs at the Georgetown Public Hospital, were invited (to this workshop) to ensure that they are sensitised as it relates to the requirements, the support, the functions and capacity of the CRS.”Senior Technical Officer of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr Princess Osbourne, said the CRS does not replace the quality assurance mechanisms in any country, but works as a supportive body. Dr Osbourne also highlighted that it is not mandatory for countries to be part of the CRS, as participation is voluntary. The doctor also commended Guyana for taking such an important step in ensuring that citizens are exposed to the best pharmaceutical drugs.Dr. Osbourne explained, “The products we register presently are all either prequalified by the WHO, which is a stringent regulatory authority; or they have been registered by other stringent regulatory authorities, which we call reference authorities. So the fact that we are using these reference authorities gives a double assurance that once a product has been registered by the CRS, it is safe, it is efficacious, and it is going to conform to the quality that is established.”According to the Department of Public Information, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Colette Adams, has said that the MoPH recognises the importance of having pharmaceutical drugs monitored and given quality assurance before they reach the masses.“I envision that with the fine-tuning of the regulatory mechanism, Guyana, as well as the other Caricom states, will be better positioned to access essential medicine to enable a sustainable enterprise, (thereby) contributing in the long-term to the realisation of the overarching mandate — which is to prevent disease, promote health, and respond to the public health emergency with the timely availability of recommended essential products”, Adams stated.During the workshop, stakeholders were given an overview of the CRS, instructed on the strategy for regulation of imported medicines, and given a review of the submissions of local distributor the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC).The exercise was a collaborative effort between the Public Health Ministry (MoPH), Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and the Caribbean Community (Caricom).