Background: The Gulf Centralised Committee for Drug Registration (GCC-DR), as part of the Gulf Health Council (GHC), enables the consolidated registration of pharmaceutical products throughout the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to provide an update of the performance of the GCC-DR centralised procedure; evaluate the review times for new products submitted to the GCC Centralised Registration between January 2015 and December 2020; assess the impact of applying facilitated regulatory pathways and implementing a reliance strategy; identify the strengths and weaknesses of the centralised review process; and propose strategies that could enhance the GCC regulatory review process leading to improved access to medicines for patients.

Methods: A standardised data collection template enabled the structured documentation of information collected by the Senior Regulatory Affairs and Regulatory Affairs Specialists from the Executive Board of the Health Ministers Council for GCC States to determine the GHC structure, resources, review models and milestones and timelines. The total number of applications approved was provided together with the average yearly timelines for new active substances and generics from January 2015 to December 2020 including both scientific assessment time from the agency as well as applicant response time to questions raised. Actual approval times for each product were calculated from the date of submission to the date of approval.

Results: The fewest (58) new products were approved in 2019 and the most (200) in 2020. The average review times for new medicines were the longest (838 calendar days) in 2015 and the shortest (321 calendar days) in 2019. Important changes recently implemented include an increase in the number of GCC-DR meetings, adoption of a standardised electronic common technical document and GCC regulatory review template, removal of authorisation dependence on pricing agreements and introduction of a reliance strategy. Additional recommendations include Executive Committee mandates for dossier review, target times for dossier validation, scientific review and Expert Committee recommendation and training for quality decision making.

Conclusions: GCC procedures and decision-making processes have been positively influenced by a variety of expert reviewers, unified guidelines and the implementation of a reliance strategy. Certain barriers must still be overcome to enhance the quality of the review, and to shorten regulatory review times without compromising the scientific robustness of the review.

H. M. Hashan, S. K. Al-Muteb, I. A. Alismail, O. N. Alsaleh, Z. M. Alkherb, N. McAuslane, S.R. Walker. Evaluation of the Performance of the Gulf Cooperation Council Centralised Regulatory Review Process: Strategies to Improve Product Authorisation Efficiency and Quality [published online ahead of print, 2022 Jun 29]. Pharmaceut Med. 2022;10.1007/s40290-022-00432-0. doi:10.1007/s40290-022-00432-0