The 'Backlog Project' began in 2008, when the then Minister of Health, Barbara Hogan, asked DFID for help with the mounting backlog of medicines awaiting registration by the Medicines Control Council.
By the end of 2008 the backlog was estimated to number 4,500 and went back as far as 2001. Many of these were applications for the registration of generic medicines. Not only was this situation harmful for the efficient functioning of health services, it was attracting increasing adverse publicity in the national media.
At this time DFID’s support was delivered by the Rapid Response Health Fund (RRHF), the forerunner of the SARRAH programme. When the RRHF ended, although the backlog of medicines was considerably diminished it had not been eliminated, and the project was continued under SARRAH.
By the end of June 2010 achievements include the following:
- A full audit of the backlog completed and priorities identified;
- Thousands of old medicines files archived to off-site storage;
- The backlog of medicines applications reduced to 1 500;
- An improved relationship with the pharmaceutical industry;
- New IT and financial management systems were designed and implemented..
The impact of this work was seen in December when the government announced that it had been able to halve the cost of the tender for antiretroviral drugs, thereby saving R4.7billion. The Minister of Health cited the removal of the backlog, and the registration of new antiretroviral drugs as part of the explanation. This is a saving, not only of hard cash for the government, but of lives of people living with HIV.
|The registry: before
|The registry: after
The conclusion report of the Backlog Project is available on this site. READ...
Background article on changes to SA's Medicines Regulatory Body. READ...
Project Briefs. READ...