- Dr. Amin Al Amiri: There is a great need for ‘Innovative system to measure risks of complementary medicines based on the highest international standards’ and he confirms that ‘Complementary medicines’ are essential part of healthcare system’ &. Emirates considered it of high importance
- UAE to coordinate with other GCC countries in regulating prices
Adoption of New Complementary Medicines
UAE, October 28, 2015 - The Higher Committee for Registration of Complementary Medicine in Dubai headed by Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health’s Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector, recently conducted a meeting to discuss the adoption of 90 new complementary medicines that have been submitted for registration. Ministry officials and representatives from Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Zayed Complex for Herbal Research and Traditional Medicine, Dubai Municipality and other specialized organizations attended the meeting.
Dr. Al Amiri said that the medicines cover a wide range of categories, from drugs used for various illnesses such as liver disease and diabetes to those that act as tranquilizers to nutritional supplements. Sourced from different countries in European Union plus the United States and Australia, the medications are subjected to strict registration criteria to ensure their quality and effectiveness of efficacy.
Dr. Al Almiri added that the Committee is currently reviewing the reports submitted by various medical companies to the executive sub-committees, as well as the quality reports and analysis and stability results submitted to the Ministry’s Medical Products Quality Control Section. He pointed out that the Ministry’s assessments are strictly based on the
existing criteria. During the course of its evaluation, the Committee has rejected five medicines recently for not adhering to the Ministry’s quality standards.
New System Measures Risks of Complementary Medicines
The high-ranking Ministry official further revealed that the Committee has adopted a new system to measure the risks of the complementary medicines. The new system takes into consideration several factors such as product formulations, usage, source and targeted patient groups. It also consolidates various quality control factors to combine them into a single platform for efficient risk ratio measurement and proper classification of each medicine, from low- to high-risk categories. Each category is handled differently for faster registration and application of strict quality standards using a point-based system as an assessment tool. Dr. Al Amiri noted that the UAE has successfully taken a leading position in the regional pharmaceutical industry. It attracts global pharmaceutical companies due its fast medicine registration process upon full compliance with the country’s quality requirements.
Price Regulation for Contemporary Medicine
The Ministry of Health, in coordination with specialized organizations from various Gulf countries, is studying a price regulation mechanism for all types of complementary medicines such as herbal products, supplements and medical cosmetics. Dr. Al Amiri noted that alternative medicines have long been considered an integral part of the global healthcare system. He noted that there is a challenge to regulate the prices of these products as most countries today do not impose any regulatory price restriction. Such practice poses a challenge to the UAE and its neighboring countries in terms of determining a fair price for these types of medicines, while ensuring their continuous provision to patients without affecting the companies’ profitability. Dr. Al Amiri assured that the UAE is coordinating with other Gulf countries to come up with a fair and effective price mechanism. As the federal arm responsible for the regulation, registration and pricing of all types of medical products in the UAE, the Ministry of Health represents the country in these negotiations.
Fast-emerging international developments in the complementary medicine industry
Complementary medicines have already become an essential part of the global healthcare system, especially in Europe where some countries have health insurance policies covering these products. Dr. Al Amiri noted that many Arab countries have seen the emergence of complementary medicines over the past few years. However, some of these states have yet to implement essential legislations, thus affecting their provisions in the region. The UAE, for its part, has already passed relevant regulations, federal legislations and administrative decisions such as Federal Law No. (20) Of 1995. He assured that the UAE’s legislative system is capable of addressing fast-emerging international industry developments.
The need to regulate the industry has risen due to the growing number of patients opting to use natural products. Many of them, have been found relatively ineffective against many of the ills, they have been claimed to help and doesn’t contain 100% natural ingredient. This poses risks to lives and, in some cases, may even lead to deaths. Dr. Al Amiri pointed out that it is a global problem faced by many countries. Given the risks, he said specialized authorities must protect society from fake products which can easily be sold due to the popularity of social media and other modern communication channels. He assured that the UAE is one of the leading countries that monitor fake products through strict inspection and control procedures and innovative medicine registration and certification systems.
Dr. Al Amiri urges the public not be misled by imposters on social media. He encourages them to purchase their medicines from certified outlets only such as public pharmacies which are always being monitored.