Su­per­vi­sory step for­ward

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - — YANZHAO ME­TROP­O­LIS DAILY

In a re­cent unan­nounced in­spec­tion of med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus sup­pli­ers na­tion­wide, sev­eral were or­dered to close or con­duct rec­ti­fi­ca­tion mea­sures as their prod­ucts failed to meet the re­quired qual­ity stan­dards. The low-qual­ity med­i­cal ap­pa­ra­tus and in­stru­ments, as well as the chaotic man­age­ment re­vealed by the in­spec­tion, are fur­ther cause for con­cern, as they come on top of the fre­quent ex­po­sures of prob­lem­atic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts in re­cent years — from poi­sonous cap­sules to prob­lem­atic vac­cines.

Many of the past qual­ity scan­dals have re­vealed prob­lems and loop­holes in the sec­tor’s su­per­vi­sion and man­age­ment. Un­der these cir­cum­stances, more fre­quent and stricter qual­ity check­ups of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts and med­i­cal equip­ment are nec­es­sary.

The re­cent unan­nounced qual­ity in­spec­tions con­ducted by the drug reg­u­la­tors na­tion­wide mark a step to­ward im­prov­ing their pre­vi­ous su­per­vi­sion and ex­am­i­na­tion model. For a long time, the au­thor­i­ties have no­ti­fied com­pa­nies be­fore con­duct­ing qual­ity in­spec­tions. Such a model has re­sulted in the bizarre phe­nom­e­non of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drug man­u­fac­tur­ers be­ing in­volved in qual­ity scan­dals af­ter they have pre­vi­ously been given the all clear by the au­thor­i­ties.

Qual­ity checks car­ried out in this way will help reg­u­la­tors gain an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of the sec­tor and help them more ef­fec­tively carry out their su­per­vi­sion and law en­force­ment du­ties.

Unan­nounced qual­ity in­spec­tions will also help the reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties re­gain their cred­i­bil­ity and the pub­lic’s trust, which have been se­verely dam­aged as a re­sult of the many qual­ity scan­dals that have oc­curred in the coun­try’s food and drug sec­tor in re­cent years.

Such in­spec­tions re­quire that com­pa­nies not be fore­warned, so any­one found re­spon­si­ble for leak­ing in­for­ma­tion about a planned in­spec­tion should be se­verely pun­ished. A su­per­vi­sory mech­a­nism should be also in­tro­duced, in which rel­e­vant ex­perts and the me­dia can bet­ter act as a de­ter­rent against mal­prac­tices.

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