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The Health Ministry has hired additional manpower that will significantly speed up the registration of new drugs, which currently takes an average of 18 months, even if they are designated as "lifesaving" medications.
This was revealed by Dr. Mimi Kaplan, head of the ministry's Institute for Control and Regulation, which tests new drugs.
Speaking recently at a meeting of the Israel Chamber of Commerce pharmaceuticals division, Kaplan said that no drugs can be supplied to patients without testing for safety and then registration.
But due to a manpower shortage, there were long delays. A "change in priority" brought high quality manpower to the institute, allowing faster testing and speeding up registration without "shortcuts" that would endanger the public, she said.
The ministry has instituted an "express" route for registration of non-prescription drugs and veterinary drugs to shorten the existing queue.
Batya Haran, chief of the ministry's pharmaceutical division, disclosed that she had established a unit for dealing with pharmaceutical crime such as the marketing of counterfeit "drugs" and thefts of medications.
This unit will operate in cooperation with the Israel Police and the Customs Authority, she said, to fight crimes involving medications, which have become very widespread.