EU drugs watchdog partners with regulators on COVID-19 vaccines, drugs

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FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are placed on dry ice in this illustration

(Reuters) - Europe's drugs regulator said on Thursday it had started sharing COVID-19 vaccine and treatment expertise with its counterparts in several countries, aiming to speed up regulatory processes around the world.

The pilot aims to speed up development and assessment of COVID-19 medicines and make them available to the public faster, the European Medicines Agency said, adding that the collaboration comes "at a time when vaccine hesitancy has increased." (https://bit.ly/3awkJWC)

It said that the collaboration, which began in December, will promote overall transparency and may increase public trust in the vaccines and therapeutics as regulatory decisions are open to peer-review.

"Participation of non-EU regulators can bring additional expertise at a time our network is stretched due to the pandemic," the EMA said.

Authorities from Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been participating in the pilot program under permanent confidentiality arrangements, the regulator said.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)