Written by: Anthony Rees (National Chairman: TNHA)
SUMMARY – In the near future the African Union’s new African Medicines Agency (AMA) will be formally established, and will begin evaluating, regulating & controlling access to marketed African Traditional Medicines in the same manner as synthetic pharmaceutical drugs. This will advance the profits of pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders, who will culturally expropriate African herbal traditions, while outlawing existing & trusted products which are not pre-authorised with a license for sale in the continent. Small and medium sized manufacturers will effectively be locked out of the market they pioneered with the ancestral knowledge passed on over generations. Stop the Pharma Monopoly on Health in Africa!
The African Union is poised to launch the new Pan-African African Medicines Agency (AMA) after 15 African countries have ratified the African Union’s Treaty for the Establishment of the African Medicines Agency, and pledged to adopt its African Union Model Law on Medical Products Regulation.
The latest country to ratify the Treaty and Model Law is Namibia, the first SADC country to join the Pan-African block seeking a single, centralized Medicines Regulatory Agency for the continent, similarly styled on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which sets harmonized policies for medicines evaluation, regulation and approval throughout Europe.
The AMA is viewed as important supra-natural organ of the African Union due to the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is expected to develop into the African Economic Community by 2028.
It is worthy to note that the Namibian Health Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, has this week called for Namibia’s ratification of the Treaty based on requiring such a body to evaluate and approve African Traditional Medicines for Covid-19.
Both the Treaty and Model Law include African Traditional Medicines in their definitions of medicines falling under the AMA’s control, despite there having been ZERO call for this inclusion by African Traditional Medicines stakeholders, and no consultation with them while these founding policies were drafted.
It is the TNHA’s opinion that this is an unprecedented and opportunistic power grab over African Traditional Medicines, and a Neo-Colonial and Western Pharmaceutical Sector serving imposition over African traditions and innovations which have been passed down for millennia. By regulating these remedies as pharmaceutical drugs, and requiring vast and massively expensive clinical and safety studies before pre-market approval will only serve large foreign pharmaceutical interests, while rendering all non-approved (non-evaluated) remedies as illegal and/or banned medicines.
Equally, non-indigenous manufactured complementary medicines and health supplements will also to be controlled by this non-representative body.
There are no recognized African Traditional Medicine, Complementary Medicine, or Health Supplement experts attached to this new body, either by being represented on its non-elected and bureaucratic governance board, nor on its so-called ‘expert advisory committees’, despite African Traditional Medicine being utilized by over 70% of the African population.
No other traditional or natural health products representative organization has recognized and covered this threat, except us, the TNHA. The TNHA are currently networking with African Traditional Medicine stakeholders across the African diaspora, to begin responding with this looming threat, as the AMA’s aim to regulate African Traditional Medicines under pharmaceutical development regimes spells the beginning of the end for time-honored and sacred African traditions.
Read our previous reports on the establishment of the AMA below.
African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (08 Feb 2016)