The Head of Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM), Penny Lukito, here on Tuesday stated that cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector was very important for Muslim countries.
She added that Indonesia had initiated the establishment of a forum under OIC for the head of the drug regulatory authority.
According to Lukito, the OIC welcomed the proposal and appointed Indonesia as the host of the First Meeting of the Heads of National Medicines Regulatory Authorities of the OIC Member States this year.
"In 2017, Indonesia was appointed as a center of excellence for pharmaceuticals among OIC members. This is where BPOM becomes important," she noted.
Lukito added that the scientific capacity of pharmacy among OIC members has not been evenly distributed, and therefore, NMRAs forum was expected to benefit the member countries.
"There are only seven OIC members having the ability to produce vaccines," she remarked, adding that the seven countries are Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Egypt.
She pointed out that until now, there was no special forum for Drug Regulatory Authority among OIC countries, even though the forum was important to build synergy among OIC countries and ensure that drugs, including vaccines, used by people would meet the requirements of efficacy, safety, and quality.
According to Lukito, Indonesia can contribute to NMRAs, because the country has intellectual leadership in the field of medicine among OIC members.
She noted that Indonesia has Bio Farma, the national vaccine and antisera manufacturer, which has exported its products to 141 countries, of which 50 are OIC member countries.
Indonesia also has 217 pharmaceutical factories with production capacity for export.
In addition, Indonesian vaccines and drugs have export quality recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
BPOM has received recognition from WHO as a regulatory authority for vaccines, he explained.
"Indonesia can contribute to meeting the needs of medicines and increasing the regulatory capacity of drugs in Muslim countries," she revealed.
Reporting by Anom Prihantoro
Editing by Libertina W Ambari