'Medicine registration backlog high'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The backlog of unregistered medicines is indicative of the shambles the Medicine Control Council and Medical Regulatory Authority find themselves in, says IFP health spokesman Ruth Rabinowitz.

She said the present backlog was 98 percent. The lack of responsible regulation of complementary and African traditional medicines meant that South Africa continued to lose the rights to such medicines to other countries.

"For too long these bodies, which have the critical role of checking all medicines for safety, efficacy and quality, have been left to dawdle, fiddle and to literally drown under a load of work that is not being handled with any degree of efficiency or accountability," she said.

Rabinowitz said the budget of the control council and regulatory authority was overspent by 100 percent. The latter overspent R10million and the former by R2,4million.

"Traditional medicines remain unregulated, as do complementary medicines," she said

The ruling against Dr Matthias Rath for promoting and selling his super vitamins should not have come from the courts, but from a control council that was doing its job."

She said the restructuring and responsible regulation of medical devices, complementary medicines and African traditional medicines was an urgent priority for the government and far more important than price regulations in the private sector.

Department of health spokesman Sibani Mngadi, said they were not aware of people who had applied for registration for their medicine and ended up taking it to other countries.

South African Traditional Healers Association chairman Sazi Mhlongo said the delays were having a negative effect on traditional healers.