OBJECTS AND REASONS OF THE PHARMACY ACT 2014
“The provision of health care, which includes access to essential medicines and other medical supplies, is a fundamental human right of the citizenry. The National Medicines Policy (2007) aims to contribute to the attainment of quality health care for the population of The Gambia through ensuring Availability and Accessibility to Essential Medicines of appropriate Quality, Efficacy and Safety and the Promotion of the Rational Use of the Medicines.
The legal framework regulating the Importation, Distribution and Sale of medicines for human and veterinary use are embodied in the Medicines Act 1984 and the Medicines Regulations 1986. A review of this Act identified a number of inadequacies and thus resulting in a number of weaknesses in the regulation of the business of pharmaceuticals and the practice of pharmacy.
A major weakness of the Act- Medicines Act 1984 is that it combines the regulation of the practice of pharmacy (services) and the regulation of the business of pharmaceuticals (products), by a single Board which is grossly inadequate to regulate the practice of Pharmacy. Also, whilst the regulation of the pharmaceutical products could be termed as relatively adequate at that time, the regulation of the practice of Pharmacy was deficient in several areas.
Another major weakness of the Act is the limited regulatory infrastructure for medicines safety
monitoring (Pharmacovigilance) and above all, developments in the pharmaceutical sector over the years and newer technologies being used in medicines and other medical supplies manufacture requires upgrading of the legislations to adequately protect the population from consumption of substandard or unsafe medicines.
Thus this Bill seeks to establish the Pharmacy Council for the first time in The Gambia.
In addition, the Bill seeks to adequately address all the weaknesses in the regulation of the practice of pharmacy in The Gambia. These include development of standards for the training of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Support Staff, accreditation of training institutions for the training of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Support Staff in The Gambia, Registration of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Support Staff, licensing of practitioners and licensing of pharmaceutical outlets both public and private for wholesale and retail of medicines and other medical supplies, the development of standards for Pharmacy Practice in The Gambia and the enforcement of high standards of practice of Pharmacy in The Gambia.” –Pharmacy Council Act 2014.
The Pharmacy Council was established by the said Act under Part II Section 3 of the Act. The Council is committed to enforcement of high standards of practice of Pharmacy in The Gambia. However, enforcement requires competent Pharmaceutical Personnel who are also committed to practice in order to assure Protection of Health and Safety of the general public. The current challenge is the gross inadequate number of registered pharmaceutical personnel to meet with the minimum staffing norms of pharmacy practice in public and private sectors. At the current turnover of pharmaceutical personnel for UTG and AIUWA, it will be long to meet the need thus Council wishes to promote programmes in Continuous Pharmacy Education and Continuous Professional Development as a short and medium term strategy for increasing the numbers.