December 19, 2018
Philippine Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) personnel take cue from Japan's vaccine quality standards following a series of trainings under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO), and Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID).
Under the training, the FDA personnel joined participants from Vietnam to observe manufacturing facilities for vaccines and testing systems in Japan. "We understood the stringent regulations and well-defined functions of Japanese government on vaccines. They also implement quality control guidelines to ensure that vaccines are safe," said Filipino participant Geraldine Dimapilis, Food and Drugs Regulation Officer from the FDA Field Regulations Operations Office.
Since the Philippines relies on procurement when it comes to vaccines, Dimapilis said the training in Tokyo showed the importance of collaborating with academe when it comes to inspecting quality of vaccines. Another participant from FDA Common Services Laboratory, Kharlo de Guzman said, "We also learned about Japan's so-called relief system that provides benefits from health damage such as diseases and disabilities from pharmaceuticals and adverse effects following vaccinations."
Their training ‘Strengthening the National Regulatory Authorities for Vaccine's Quality and Safety' is part of JICA's Knowledge Co-Creation Program (KCCP) that aims to share Japan's experiences and knowhow on specific development areas with partner countries. The WHO has required every country to establish a national regulatory authority and strengthen their capacity on ensuring vaccine safety. Said KCCP therefore aims to strengthen the role of national regulatory authorities like the FDA as vaccine regulators.
In the Philippines, the FDA helps ensure food and drugs safety in the country as mandated by law as well as other functions such as licensing establishments, registering health products (cosmetics, supplements, medical devices, toys or childcare articles) and post-market surveillance. The FDA likewise manages the Common Services Laboratory (CSL) that holds quality testing of food and drugs before entering the local market. There are about 21 CSL accredited laboratories throughout the Philippines.
The participants also visited Japan's Pharmaceutical and Device Agency, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health, as well as private sector companies including laboratories and vaccine firms.
As outcome of the training, the FDA is currently implementing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Inspectorate to ensure drugs safety and enhance skills of local drugs inspectors.
Over the years, JICA has supported the Philippines' public health needs including establishment of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), FDA laboratories, and building hospitals in Aurora, Davao, and Benguet to name a few.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) personnel shared their learnings and experiences from their training in Japan with officials from WHO and JICA during the feedback session held at the JICA Philippine Office.