Washington, D.C., 7 May 2012 (PAHO/WHO) — Health authorities, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, and members of the scientific and research communities have a new virtual venue where they can share information and seek opportunities for cooperation on medical products and technologies.
The new Regional Platform on Access and Innovation for Health Technologies (PRAIS in Spanish), launched on May 7 by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) as a series of virtual tools designed to improve transparency, information flow, and collaboration among different sectors involved in the development, use and regulation of essential medicines, biological products and public health diagnostics.
"This Regional Platform represents a new stage in how we collaborate with countries," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses Periago. "Regional research networks are actively supported by PAHO, and platforms are being developed that will facilitate the generation, sharing and transfer of knowledge between research institutions, governments and the private sector with a view to addressing innovation priorities."
The Regional Platform is a collaborative effort of PAHO, WHO's Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It links networks, information resources and communities of practice to promote technology transfer and improve capacity and governance in the pharmaceutical development sector.
The Regional Platform is intended for use by national health authorities; drug regulatory authorities; government agencies that promote science, technology and innovation; scientists; researchers; and research institutions in general. Other users include representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and members of civil society, nongovernmental organizations and foundations working in the areas of medicines and health technologies.
"Our collective success depends on our carrying out collaborative efforts to strengthen regulatory systems," said Mary Lou Valdez, the FDA's Associate Commissioner for International Programs and Director, Office of International Programs. "PAHO's Regional Platform is a tangible example of the type of collaboration that we need in order to succeed." She said the platform would promote dialogue and cooperation in all areas of medicines and technological innovation in the Americas.
Dr. José Miguel do Nascimento, Jr., Director of the Department of Pharmaceutical Assistance and Strategic Products in Brazil's Ministry of Health, noted "the need for instruments of this type to certify the management of work processes and health systems" in the Region.
The Regional Platform offers a series of virtual tools that promote and support innovation, access, rational use, quality and governance in medicines and health technologies. These include:
- Communities of practice: To bring people and institutions together to work on issues of common interest, to share and generate knowledge.
- Innovation forum: A collaborative space to present innovative solutions in health technology issues.
- Annotated medicines list: Provides information on essential and strategic medicines that are used throughout the Region. This component will integrate information from PAHO Member States' essential medicines lists with evidence-based summaries and the regulatory status within the country.
- Observatory: Provides information on the sectors and processes involved in development, production and regulation of health technologies through the use of standardized indicators that are updated periodically.
- Repository: Facilitates access to information on governance and other key aspects of the health technology sector in the Region.
Access to the Regional Platform is free of charge. Interested parties may register by creating a personal or institutional profile. Users can send and receive messages, search for individuals and institutions, share information, participate in communities and build networks of collaborators and contacts. Users can also view and download scientific publications, technical reports and other documents free of charge.
The Regional Platform, which can be navigated in English, Spanish and Portuguese, will be integrated into the Virtual Campus of Public Health (VCPH), which provides access to courses and learning opportunities through the VCPH-Health Technologies Node.
The new Regional Platform was unveiled today by Dr. Rubén Torres, PAHO Area Manager for Health Systems Based on Primary Health Care; James Fitzgerald, PAHO Coordinator of Medicines and Health Technologies; and Dr. Analia Porrás, PAHO Advisor, Technological Innovation in Health, Medicines and Health Technologies. The platform was also presented last week in Seattle at the 2012 Global Health Product Development Forum, organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
PAHO was established in 1902 and works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).