The inaugural PharmaConnect Africa Conference and Expo were held on the 29th and 30th of March 2017. Over the years, PharmaConnect Africa has been considered a credible forum where roleplayers in Africa pharma can meet and network. Our conferences have included official representation from regulators (e.g. Ghana FDA, East Africa Community (EAC) and the home authority (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority), Department of Health (South Africa), local manufacturers (NAPM and SAGMA), innovator companies and associations under the auspices of Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa (IPASA), various South African universities, USP Convention, UN agencies (UNIDO and WHO), and SADC-aligned business forum (SABF).
Pharmaconnect Africa Conferences aim to bring all role players in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in Africa together to discuss a common agenda. They address issues in four focal areas in order to create continuity of solutions from year to year. These areas are clustered into 4 thematic sessions addressing key issues in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries in Africa i.e. Clinical Trials, Regulatory harmonization, Education and Training, and Local Pharmaceutical Production. They all aim to enhance access to essential medicines and health products for Africa and her citizens as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Essential medicines and health products are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality, and at a price, the individual and the community can afford.
Pharmaconnect Africa 2019 will build on the success of the previous conference, and bring exciting panelists who are knowledgeable of the global and African pharmaceutical and healthcare landscape. It will provide an important networking platform for your organization.
About the Conference
The theme for the main conference (3 – 4 April 2019) is Reliance and Worksharing – lessons for Africa. The conference will discuss how reliance and work sharing models can be developed for use in general but with a particular focus on biological and biosimilar medicines.
The WHO has recognized the need for regulatory collaboration (often called reliance) in order to avoid duplication of work among regulators and thus ensure timely patient access to safe and effective therapeutic products. Reliance results in reducing the workload of regulators leading to more efficient use of limited resources to address greater complexity of issues in medicine regulation. Reliance may be achieved by information and/or work-sharing and mutual recognition of assessment and inspection results through a variety of mutual recognition agreements and national legislation.
Increasingly African regulators are taking up reliance and work sharing models especially with regards to the assessment of complex medicines, such as biological and biosimilar medicines where they have little capacity and technical expertise. PharmaConnect Africa 2019 will tackle the issue of reliance and work sharing in Africa giving both industry and regulatory perspectives.
About the Symposium
This year the symposium to be held in April 2019 will address the topic Developing the Medical Cannabis Industry in Africa.
There is a buzz about medical cannabis which is sweeping across (Southern) Africa, as elsewhere in Western Europe and North America. The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine.
Medicinal cannabis, or medicinal marijuana, is an emerging promising global industry but with still many legal, ethical, and societal controversies. The growing, therapeutic use, safe administration, and adverse health consequences all represent some of the complexities associated with this treatment.
The emergence of interest in botanical medicinal cannabis is an opportunity for African countries to turn this into a legitimate and well-regulated forex earner. To do this there is a need to build capacity from farm to bedside. The symposium will be an opportunity to hear from regulators, legal, agriculture, pharmaceutical and medical experts on how to build and sustain a medical cannabis industry in Africa.
The conference and symposium will follow a roundtable format with plenary speakers and discussants for each of the thematic area, followed by Q&A sessions. We have found that this engenders important dialogue.
Scientific Review Committee (SRC)
Prof David R Katerere [Ph.D.] – Tshwane University of Technology – SRC Chair
With a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science from Strathclyde (Glasgow), David previously worked at Farmovs-Parexel CRO Pty Ltd and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). He was also a visiting scientist at Scynexis Inc, RTP, North Carolina in 2010. His areas of interest and expertise are natural products/pharmacognosy, analytical chemistry, and regulatory science. He is on the advisory committees of SAHPRA has completed several consulting assignments for Department of Trade and Industry, SADC as well as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Dr. Judy Coates [Ph.D.] – Executive Director, Pharmaceutical Society South Africa, Southern Gauteng (PSSA SG).
Judy has been in the Pharmaceutical industry for fifteen years, initially specializing in research and development and thereafter progressing into investment and now the government and regulatory affairs. Her career began with joining Mintek in 2003 after obtaining her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg (RAU). Judy started her research career looking at the synthesis and biological activity of a variety of metal-based phosphine compounds in a secondment to the University of Witwatersrand. Judy served as the head of the Biomedical Group at Mintek for a period of eight years. In July 2011 Judy transferred from Head: Biomed to the Human Resources Division in the position of Head: Academic Support. At the end of 2012, Judy joined the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Technology, in Pretoria as the General Manager: Health. From TIA Judy moved to the Innovative Pharmaceutical Association South Africa (IPASA), appointed as the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Manager. Here she was responsible for monitoring trends, issues, problems, opportunities and activities in the healthcare environment, with a specific focus on Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, in order to identify legislative issues that can affect the industry; developing IPASA positions on key issues in conjunction with members; and the overall coordination and support of a number of the IPASA Working Groups. In addition to her employment at PSSA Judy currently serves on the TIA Board, The Innovation Hub’s BioPark Steering Committee, SARIMA’s Technology Transfer Mentorship Programme, and the NECSA (NTeMBI & NuMeRI) Review Panels.
Dr. Mbali Keele [Ph.D.] – Moteli Consultants
Worked as a lecturer at the Department of Pharmacy of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for eight years. More recently she was at the National Department of Health as a Medicines Research Officer within the Medicines Evaluation and Research (ME&R) Directorate, supporting the work of the Medicines Control Council. She rose to the rank of Acting Deputy Director of the Pre-registration Unit at the ME&R before leaving to join one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in South Africa within its Regulatory Affairs Unit. She has extensive knowledge in product formulation and medicine registration.
Dr Clinton Rambanapasi [PhD] – Roche Products (Pty) Ltd
Completed his Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) degree in 2006 at the University of Zimbabwe, Master of Science in Medical Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2010 from the University of Groningen and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics at the North-West University, Potchefstroom campus in 2016.
Clinton has amassed extensive experience in the pharmaceutical sector in Sub Saharan Africa as a pharmacist and pharmaceutical scientist since graduating in 2006. He started his career in Regulatory Affairs in 2007 at Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe. Post his master’s degree he had short stints at the MCAZ, a contract research organization as a clinical trials pharmacist and lecturer in Pharmaceutics at the University of Zimbabwe. In 2012 he joined the PreClinical Drug Development Platform in the School of Pharmacy at NWU for his Ph.D. where he worked on assessing the in vivo toxicity of a nano-gold (a proposed drug delivery system). After his PhD he joined Rhodes University, Faculty of Pharmacy as a lecturer and eventually left to join Roche. Currently, he is a senior regulatory affairs pharmacist at Roche responsible for the SADC countries. He has a strong interest in regulatory science as a discipline and regulatory policy topics.