Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has appointed the board of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), marking an important step towards setting up the agency to replace the Medicines Control Council (MCC). The 15-member board will be chaired by respected scientist Prof Helen Rees, who heads the board of the MCC. Sahpra has been anxiously anticipated by the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, as it is expected to be more efficient than the MCC at processing applications to register medicines and clinical trials. Sahpra is also expected to improve protection for consumers, as it will have a wider mandate than the MCC and will for the first time bring oversight to the medical device sector. Since the MCC would cease to exist on the night before the first meeting of the Sahpra board, the board would need to ensure a smooth handover between the two agencies, said the Department of Health’s deputy director-general for regulation and compliance Anban Pillay. Staff...

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