Regulatory in brief | Allopurinol, PRAC, MHRA

Regulatory in brief | Allopurinol, PRAC, MHRA

8 September 2021 - Deborah Wilkes

New Zealand's Medicines Classification Committee (MCC) is set to reconsider an application to change the status of allopurinol for preventing gout, Europe’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has extended the mandate of its vice chair for a further three years, and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has appointed four non-executive directors.

New Zealand to reconsider allopurinol change

New Zealand's Medicines Classification Committee (MCC) is set to reconsider an application to change the status of allopurinol for preventing gout at its next meeting on 26 October 2021.

At its May 2021 meeting, the MCC deferred a decision and recommended engaging with the Pharmacy Council process for reclassification (click here to read the News story).

In a document submitted ahead of the next meeting, the Pharmacy Council says it “believes pharmacists possess the base competencies to supply allopurinol as per the proposal in the application”.

The Pharmacy Council recommends that “pharmacists be required to complete a formal training programme that focuses on patient assessment and point-of-care testing, supply guidelines, and patient advice”.

The application seeks to reclassify allopurinol from a “prescription medicine” to a “prescription medicine except when” provided by pharmacists with special training.

PRAC’s vice chair gets another three years

Europe’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has announced that Germany’s Martin Huber will be its vice chair for a further three years.

Huber’s second three-year term as vice chair of the committee, which is part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), starts in October 2021.

MHRA appoints non-executive directors

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has appointed four non-executive directors to its board for three-year terms.

Junaid Bajwa is chief medical scientist at Microsoft Research as well as a practising general practitioner in the UK, a non-executive director at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, a non-executive director of Nahdi Medical Corporation in Saudi Arabia and a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health in the US.

Graham Cooke is National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College in the UK and leads the translational infection research within the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. He has been the principal investigator for the REACT study of COVID-19 home testing with over three million participants, and has been involved in several other COVID-19 studies and expert committees.

Paul Goldsmith has extensive experience in frontline clinical medicine as a consultant neurologist. He is also president, chief innovation officer and co-founder of Closed Loop Medicine.

Raj Long is deputy director for safety and pharmacovigilance at the Gates Foundation and also supports the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing taskforce.

In addition, the MHRA has appointed Haider Husain as a non-voting associate non-executive director.

Husain is chief operating officer of international healthcare technology consultancy Healthinnova, a non-executive director of Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, and panel chair for the safe and effective use of artificial intelligence in healthcare at the British Standards Institute.

The four new non-executive directors replace Barbara Bannister, Bruce Campbell, Anne-Toni Rodgers and David Webb.

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