REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- The heads of National Medicines Authorities from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) announced the Jakarta Declaration during their first meeting here, Thursday. The declaration contains, among others, efforts to harmonize standards of vaccine and self-reliance in medicines for OIC members.
"Through this meeting, a network has been built to carry out regulatory functions to realize the availability of safe, qualitative, and useful medicines," Penny Lukito, head of Food and Drug Supervision Agency (BPOM), said.
Other parts of the declaration underline the importance of redefining views on "halal" (allowed by Islam) medicines and vaccines. She said the definition of halal on foods was not a problem because a lot of choices are available.
"With regard to vaccines and medicines, the choices are few and so the terminology halal must be redefined," she noted.
Lukito spoke in the company of OIC Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Naeem Khan, CEO of Saudi Arabia FDA Hisham S Al Jadhey, Mustafa AM Alnafi, a delegation member from Palestine, Markieu Janneh Kaira from Gambia and Kamapradipta Isnomo from the Indonesian foreign ministry.
Penny stressed "emergency is one of the reasons halal for vaccines and medicines must be redefined."
The World Health Organization states 30 percent of the world population lack access to essential medicines, including vaccines. This also happens in the member countries of OIC, and their problem is similar, which is the limited production capacity of their pharmaceutical industries, she remarked.
"A number of OIC countries are still fighting contagious disease epidemics, which are actually preventable using vaccines. This underlines the importance of widening access to vaccines, including cheap medicines," she maintained.
Penny emphasized the meeting would become the starting point for better cooperation in the future, which has been included in the work plan. Indonesia, she added, could take an initiative to OIC member countries to extend their access by taking advantage of the country's pharmaceutical company Bio Farma.
Bio Farma has been able to produce vaccines recognized by the WHO.
"We have set a target of being able to provide halal vaccine choices within five to six years, not only for OIC members but also other countries," she said.