Two prastatals; Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA) and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) the past Tuesday signed Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the view to partner to control the importation of medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics.
“This will ensure that only products that have undergone regulatory assessments will be imported into Botswana and used by Batswana. Our enforcement operations as the Authority are reliant on this great initiative, to safeguard citizens of this nation and make sure there are reduced incidences of substandard and falsified medical products,” explained Stephen Ghannie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BoMRA during the signing ceremony. He explained the role of his institution as to Strive to reduce incidences of substandard and falsified medical products and cosmetics in Botswana which contribute to the improved health outcomes of the people of Botswana; done through:- rigorous assessment of medicines to ensure that only those that meet the set standards are registered; the inspection and issuance of licenses for pharmacies, distributors, manufactures and medicines retailers to ensure compliance with good practices; lastly committed to promoting patient safety through monitoring of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) from the use of any medicines or vaccines.
For his part the BURS Acting Commissioner General, Segolo Lekau underpinned that in the context of this MoA, it is important to note that BURS is the competent authority in terms of regulation of importation and exportation of goods in Botswana. On the other hand, BoMRA regulates the supply chain of Human and Veterinary medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics in Botswana.
He highlighted that predominantly, the MoA provides for BURS to collect fees imposed in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act. The agency work, they do in accordance with Section 5 of the Customs Act of 2018, which empowers BURS to enter into such arrangements with other Government entities with the view to enhance the enforcement of relevant national statutes for the respective entities. The MoA therefore gives BURS and BoMRA, the opportunity to:
“Clearly set out areas of cooperation and clarify roles to ensure seamless operations at designated ports of entry particularly with respect to control of imported medicines and related substances. In that regard, BoMRA will play a critical role by capacitating BURS officials in the verification and handling of safe medicines as authorised by BOMRA.”