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Washington, D.C., February 20, 2018 (PAHO/WHO) - The Caribbean Public Health Agency/Caribbean Regulatory System (CARPHA/CRS), with the support of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), launched a program to identify dangerous  substandard medicines throughout the región.

 The new system, called VirgiCarb, will allow the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) states to report medicine-related adverse events (adverse drug reactions) and substandard and falsified products.  VirgiCarb will bolster states' ability to monitor medicines in the market.

Ministers of Health in CARICOM states have endorsed VirgiCarib. The  program allows government focal points, health professionals, the public, and industries to report adverse reactions and substandard medicines to the CRS for regulatory analysis and action. Reports can be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. via online forms that are available here. Interested parties can also send reports as photos and recorded messages. The CRS will work with stakeholders to complete the required information.

"Quality medicines are essential to provide quality health care. We cannot take for granted that all medicines meet international standards in quality, safety and efficacy," said James Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Health Systems and Services. "We must remain vigilant all times, and put in place the necessary safeguards to protect people within our health systems."

VigiCarib is meant to augment and support national programs, not to replace them. Data show these systems are limited in the small territories and countries of CARICOM. The VigiCarib team will work with countries to ensure that received reports are copied to the government focal points and national centers.

After reports are analyzed, the CRS will share information with CARICOM states, pool data, and make recommendations to governments for regulatory action. The CARPHA Drug Testing Laboratory will also play an integral role in carrying out routine and emergency testing of medicines, including those reported to the VigiCarib system.

The initiative is part of a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support regulatory systems strengthening in the Caribbean Region.

Caribbean Public Health Agency: