The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has automated its services, making it among the first national drug regulatory authorities in Africa to digitise its clinical registry.
Services offered by the regulator including license renewals, payments, clinical trials, student registration, trade, inspection, and verification of professionals have now been moved online to reduce delays in service delivery.
It would, for instance, reduce the period for seeking a practice license from one month to 72 hours.
“From registration of products including pharmaceutical drugs, herbal and food supplements, cosmetics, good manufacturing practices procedures to indexing and registration of students and exams time table and results, all processes and procedures are now paperless,” said Gideon Murimi who heads the ICT department.
According to PPB senior deputy chief pharmacist Fred Siyoi, market demands for a system that would provide real-time information to users with reduced margins of error prompted the drug regulator to automate its service delivery.
The automation process which cost Sh240 million will also increase the Board’s capacity to stem backstreet pharmaceutical practice.
“The automation project has also boosted revenue collection measures and improved industry surveillance mechanisms,” said Dr Siyoi adding that payments made to the board will now be made through electronic money transfer services.
With this automation, the country joins Medicines Control Council of South Africa (MCC) as the only pharmaceutical regulatory authorities in the continent to receive submissions of drug registration dossiers online, commonly referred to as Electronic Common Technical Document (E-CTD).
“Through the automation, Kenya is now a regional centre of regulatory excellence for pharmacovigilance, a platform that tracks and reports adverse effects licensed drugs may have on patients,” added Dr Siyoi.
The automation process has taken 10 years to be up and running, each time facing glitches such as lack of budget. The Board had planned to automate the services it offers in 2015.
“We had an initial budget of Sh6 million but after the process was mapped, Sh240 million was required. We could not get that at a go, forcing us to do resource mobilisation,” said Dr Siyoi.
To have the system up and running, the Board received support from the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) which paid the system developers.
In the next one year, Mr Murimi noted, the board plans to integrate its systems into a portal that will also be available at the e-citizen, the one-stop portal for all government services.