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|18 March, 2018

Revamped, stricter drug law to protect UAE users, local market

Law will govern the profession, support policies and systems in terms of individuals and drugs.

Various medicine pills in their original packaging are seen. image used for illustrative purpose

Various medicine pills in their original packaging are seen. image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

A federal pharmaceutical law that defines clear policies and punishments for those abusing the pharmacy profession and also encourages local production of drugs, among a whole range of issues, was passed by the UAE cabinet on Sunday. While speaking to Khaleej Times, a senior health official said that the law would come into effect soon.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted soon after the cabinet meeting: "We also approved the issuance of a federal law to manage the profession of pharmacist and its entities and products in the country.

"Protecting our people from products of unauthentic sources has become complicated, especially with the boundary-less virtual reality we live in now," he said in his tweet.

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Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant under-secretary of public health policy and licensing sector at the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) told Khaleej Times, "This is a big law, which is being updated. An earlier law was passed in 1983. With changing technology, policies and time, this law is being updated and will lay out clear policies for those abusing it." The updated law will also put in place new procedures to seize counterfeit, controlled and semi-controlled medicines.

"It will also define penalties and punishments for individuals, companies or pharmacies found to be involved in this business. The law will also put in place procedures to seize suspected shipments into the country, oversee import and export shipments and also take smugglers to task. "This will all improve the market value of the UAE," said Dr Amiri. He also said that the law was huge and had 16 chapters with many articles.

"Roughly, the law will govern the profession, support policies and systems in terms of individuals and drugs," he said. The law would encourage production of medicines locally, as well as foreign investments. "The law will encourage clinical trials, research and development (R&D), allow the opening of scientific offices and foreign investments as well," said Dr Amiri.

What the law offers

>Punishment for those abusing the pharmacy profession

>Encourage clinical trials, research and development

>Procedures to seize counterfeit, controlled, semi-controlled drugs

>Opening of scientific offices and foreign investments

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