Consultative Workshop on Guidelines on Recalls and Rapid Alerts of Defective Therapeutic Goods

National Regulatory Authorities are responsible to ensure that recalls are handled properly and promptly, including alerting the public, classifying the type of drug recall, and safely removing the affected product from the market. DRAP in collaboration with WHO, organized one-day consultative workshop on “Guidelines on Recalls and Rapid Alerts of Defective Therapeutic Goods” held at DRAP Headquarter in Islamabad on 20th July, 2023. The workshop was aimed at ensuring strong communication skills and knowledge to effectively handle the SF threat and execution of recalls and rapid alerts. Government Analysts from all Quality Control Laboratories (QCLs) working under the DRAP Act 2012 and Drug Act 1976, as well and representatives from drug control administration of all federating units participated in the workshop.

The workshop focused on the following key objectives:

  1. Implementation of effective and integrated Recall and Rapid Alert system in Pakistan.
  2. Emphasizing the need and importance of Recall and Rapid Alert System.
  3. Training and building capacity of all the participants.
  4. Enhancing coordination and communication with provincial governments and related departments.
  5. Safe disposal system of SF products
  6. Improvement in DRAP’s guidelines and harmonization with International best practices.

Risk Communication flow chart for handling SF threats

Core Activities and Topics Covered

1. Introduction and Objectives of Workshop The day began with an overview of current system for rapid alerts and recalls for removing defective therapeutic goods from the market. Director Quality Assurance and Lab Testing, DRAP briefed the participants on the strategies designed to strengthen the collaboration among regulators and QCLs of all federating units. He emphasized the importance of timely and accurate communication to combat the challenge of SF therapeutic goods.

2. Overview of DRAP’s guidelines on Recalls and Rapid Alerts of Defective products This session explained the guidelines of DRAP and action response currently opted by DRAP, highlighting its strengths and limitations. Participants engaged in group discussions to evaluate which methods would be most effective in different scenarios.

3. WHO recommendation on Recalls and Rapid Alerts System in the benchmarking visit Participants were introduced to the WHO GBT indicators, sub-indicators and IDPs, WHO recent visit and their recommendation for the improvement of the current Rapid Alert system. The trainer comprehensively delivered the details, ensuring that the information provided is easily comprehensible and actionable.

4. Harmonization of Terminologies for Defective Products and Role of QCLs in Detection and Disposal of SF products This segment focused on the terminologies being used nationally and their harmonization with WHO recommended terminologies. Later the role of Quality Control Laboratories was emphasized and discussed in group discussion. 

5. Best practices for storage and disposal of SF products This session highlighted the current available practices and international practices as recommended by the WHO for safe storage and disposing of the SF products.

6.Effective communication among stakeholders for their removal from the market ;Recall is an effective means of protecting the public from a defective or potentially harmful product, and strong communication among relevant stakeholders is essential for the effective recall of SF Products. It was suggested to utilized modern communication channels by all federating units to ensure in time action on trigger information to safeguard public health. It was agreed by all the participants that prompt and effective communication is very crucial for implementing an proficient Rapid Alert and Recall System to removal of SF product from markets. 

7. Practical Exercises The afternoon session involved hands-on practical exercises. Participants were divided into groups and tasked with case studies for different hypothetical scenarios. Case studies and simulations illustrated the effective collaboration between all the relevant stakeholders. This interactive exercise encouraged teamwork and allowed attendees to apply the concepts learned throughout the day.

8. Concluding Remarks and Distribution of Certificates Director Pharmaceutical Evaluation & Registration (PE&R) concluded the workshop with his closing remarks on appreciating the active participation from all regulatory entities and QCLs across Pakistan. The certificates of participation were distributed among the participants at the end of session.