The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the award of a $904,000 cooperative agreement to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to research and develop an information hub for medical products and related regulatory processes and systems in the Americas Region.

The award will help FDA, and all PAHO member states, to better understand other countries' regulatory systems, support capacity to use harmonized standards and guidelines across countries, and prevent, and if necessary respond more quickly to, problems in the medical product supply chain. The “hub” will collect and produce data and map structures and processes in the areas of medical products, including drugs, biologics, vaccines, medical devices and other medical products, and related regulatory processes and systems.

“National regulatory agencies play a critical role in ensuring access to safe, effective, quality medical products for patients and consumers,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Improved data access and transfer will help the monitoring of medical products, ingredients, and components throughout the supply chain and help reduce the risk of importing unsafe products and/or their ingredients into the marketplace.”

Established in 1902, PAHO works to improve the health and the quality of life of people of the Americas and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. PAHO member states today include 38 countries in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Regulatory agencies in the Americas Region have different legal and regulatory frameworks, different institutional and administrative structures, different standards and guidelines, and different ways of collecting and analyzing information.

Better collaboration among these agencies will build confidence and knowledge among the participants, stakeholders, and ultimately benefit patients and consumers throughout the region, according to Hamburg.

The cooperative agreement will be administered by the FDA’s Office of International Programs, in concert with the agency’s relevant product centers. OIP is the focal point of coordination for FDA’s global engagement.