THE Health Ministry says its new National Medicinal Products Policy covers loopholes and gaps in previous legislation governing medicines.
Deputy secretary for Hospital Services Dr Mecuisela Tuicakau said the loopholes for the previous policy existed in sales and the proven ability for medicines to work.
"I think some of the gaps that we identified were mostly with the sales of medicine to make sure that all the medicine sold are safe and has been proven effective as well," Dr Tuicakau said at the launch of the policy yesterday.
He said the last policy for medicines was enacted two decades ago.
"The last policy was way back in 1994 and it was important that we identified some loopholes and some gaps in the policy.
"So that was why we relooked at the old policy and identified the loopholes and gaps relevant. After consultations with our stakeholders, the UN agencies, the private sector and the Fiji Nursing university, we managed to come up with the policy."
He said the policy was a milestone and gave the ministry and health providers the guidance and directives for the use of medicine, its regulations and its usage in Fiji.
"It's important to have this policy in place because of the importance of medicine usage amongst communities and it's also important to have this policy to achieve the Ministry of Health's objectives and goals.
"It's about making the medicine accessible, safe and affordable."
He also explained that work was being done on legislation to govern grey areas.
"Currently, there is nothing on traditional medicine in Fiji and we are working towards it and the Ministry of Health is continuing to have consultations to get structures in place to have a similar system to China and India."