Drug Regulators from across the world meet in Dublin to improve patients safety and access to medicines

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Date: 05/09/2018

An international World Health Organisation (WHO) conference with the largest global gathering of medicines regulators from across the world was officially opened today by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD.  Hosted by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICRDA) brings together over 500 delegates from 94 countries with an aim to strengthen global collaboration and increase patient safety and access to medicines and health technologies. 

ICDRA is a week-long event, held every two years. This year’s theme, Smart Safety Surveillance will discuss a wide range of priority areas to enable regulators to look at ways they can better collaborate across countries and regions to approve and register new health products efficiently, thereby ensuring faster access for patients. It places patients at the centre, and underscores the responsibility of regulators to maintain constant vigilance - from product development to end use. It will examine how to deal with substandard and falsified products, which are a worldwide problem; and the vital role of regulators during public health emergencies, for example, Ebola or other disease outbreaks. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony Emer Cooke, WHO Head of Regulation of Medicines and Other Health Technologies, states: “A good regulatory system gives people in a country confidence that the medical products they need and use are safe and will work as intended. A weak regulatory system undermines patient safety and access, for example by taking too long to approve products or by not detecting and removing substandard or falsified products.” 

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, provided the Keynote Address stating that: “Ireland is proud to host the 2018 ICDRA conference in Dublin and delighted to contribute to the worldwide agenda of all medicines regulators attending here this week, as they continue through close dialogue to strengthen medicines regulation and to contribute to greatly improved global health. While it is recognised that there are many challenges to ensuring adequate and appropriate access to safe medicines, for all citizens of the world, the ICDRA conference is an important and valued opportunity for the WHO and drug regulatory authorities to examine and address these myriad challenges in a collaborative and positive manner.” 

According to Dr Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive, HPRA, the meeting offers a unique opportunity to showcase Ireland’s expertise in the regulatory field of health products. The event offers an important platform for Ireland to contribute to and play an important role in enabling strategic review and solution-based debates to improving and building regulatory capacity across the world including in low and middle-income countries. 

“This year’s theme is highly relevant to all regulators as we continuously adapt to advancing technologies and innovative scientific approaches across the health sector, to best serve public health,” says Lorraine Nolan. “Throughout the week of ICDRA interactive panels and workshops will provide the opportunity to learn from one another as all regulators strive to continuously maintain the safety, effectiveness and quality of medical products on behalf of patients around the world.”



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ICDRA is a global platform to support and guide regulatory authorities.  The Dublin discussions are anticipated to discuss challenges, as well as the lessons learned to enable enhanced collaboration across countries and continents on health product safety. More information on the five-day event is available on www.icdra2018.ie



The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) protects and enhances public health and animal health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products. The products under its remit include human and veterinary medicines, medical devices, blood and blood components, tissues and cells, organs for transplantation and cosmetics. 


WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends and improving global health security. For more information about WHO and its work, visit www.who.int. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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