COTED endorses regulatory system for medicines roadmap

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Delegates at the COTED Meeting at the Ramada Princess Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana
Delegates at the COTED Meeting at the Ramada Princess Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for Trade have endorsed a roadmap for the implementation of the Caribbean Regulatory System for Medicines (CRS).

The endorsement was made at the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) during its Forty-Third Meeting held last Thursday and Friday in Georgetown, Guyana.

The CRS was tabled at the COTED given the Council’s mandate to approve standards and technical regulatory systems – in this instance as they pertain to market access for medicines. Under Article 67 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the COTED has responsibility for establishing standardisation programmes consistent with the Treaty and international obligations of Member States. The standardisation programme includes harmonisation of standards and technical regulations.

The endorsement was one of two decisions taken on health-related matters that came before the Trade Meeting. Given the economic and development consequences that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) present, Ministers also discussed inter-sectoral collaboration to fight NCDs in the Region. They agreed to collaborate with the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) to establish a regional multi-sectoral taskforce to promote and monitor the process of implementation of the priorities the CARICOM Heads of Government have adopted.

At their Regular Meeting in July this year in Georgetown, Guyana, the CARICOM Heads of Government focused on the issue of NCDs and agreed to adopt a more holistic approach to the subject. They pledged to address issues such as the banning of smoking in public places; trade-related measures; banning advertisement of potentially harmful foods which specifically target children; and elevating taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and trans-fats.

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