Introduction:Responding to new threats and public health emergencies (PHE) creates serious challenges to regulators. The pandemic due to SARS-CoV-2 has been the catalyzer for change in global and local regulatory practices. Intensified collaboration, rapid and coordinated actions, and reliance mechanisms were key elements of the regulators’ response to COVID-19 for all regulatory functions.
Areas covered:This article presents how collaboration and reliance among regulators were crucial tools for the regulatory responses to COVID-19, describes the reliance approaches for authorization of COVID-19 vaccines and other commodities, and the importance of reliance for other regulatory functions to avoid duplication and save resources where possible. This article also presents the results of a follow-up survey of reliance approaches in case of public health emergencies conducted between the International Pharmaceutical Regulators Programme (IPRP) members and discusses the forward-looking potential of reliance, analyzing the journey from theoretical concepts to real-life implementation.
Expert opinion:Regulatory reliance is an essential tool for regulators to act quickly and collectively in times of public health emergencies. Reliance approaches facilitate regulatory approvals and allow a more efficient use of resources, ultimately serving patients by facilitating earlier access to quality assured, safe and effective medicines.
By Agnes Saint-Raymond, Marie Valentin, Nobumasa Nakashima, Nick Orphanos, Gustavo Santos, Georgios Balkamos, Samvel Azatyan