In Practice

The impact of the Medicines Control Council backlog and fast-track review system on access to innovative and new generic and biosimilar medicines of public health importance in South Africa

Henry Martin John Leng, Allyson M Pollock, David Sanders

Abstract


The fast-track registration policy of the South African National Department of Health allows for rapid registration of new medicines of public health importance and of all medicines on the Essential Medicines List, most of which are generics. No limit is placed on the number of generic brands of a medicine that can be submitted for fast-track registration. This, together with resource constraints at the regulator, may delay access to important new medicines, new fixed-dose combinations of critical medicines or affordable versions of biological medicines (biosimilars). One reason for not limiting the number of fast-track generic applications was to promote price competition among generic brands. We found this not to be valid, since market share correlated poorly with price. Generic brands with high market share were, mostly, those that were registered first. We propose that the number of generic brands accepted for fast-tracking be limited to not more than seven per medicine. 


Authors' affiliations

Henry Martin John Leng, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Allyson M Pollock, Queen Mary University, London, UK

David Sanders, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Backlog; Fast-track review; Medicines registration; Access to medicines

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(4):350-353. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i4.10237

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-10-21
Date published: 2016-03-17

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