1. Regulatory Framework
1.1 Key Legislation
The key pieces of legislation governing the authorisation, marketing, sale and supply of pharmaceutical products in Mauritius are the Pharmacy Act 1983 and the Consumer Protection (Price and Supplies Control) Act of 1998.
The term "Pharmaceutical Product" is defined as a drug, medicine, preparation, poison or therapeutic substance.
"Drug" is defined as a substance or ingredient intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in a human being or an animal.
"Medicine" is defined as a chemical product, preparation, biological product or other substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any ailment, infirmity or injury affecting a human being or an animal or for dental treatment.
(a) means a substance specified in the First, Third, Fourth and
Fifth Schedules of the Pharmacy Act 1983;
(b) subject to paragraph (c), includes any poisonous substance or liquid;
(c) does not include:
- a substance which is an ingredient in adhesives, anti-fouling compositions, builders' materials, ceramics, distempers, electrical valves, enamels, explosives, fillers, fireworks, fluorescent lamps, glazes, glue, inks, lacquer solvents, loading materials, machine spread plasters, matches, motor fuels and lubricants, paints other than pharmaceutical paints, photographic paper, pigments, plastics, propellants, rubber, surgical dressings, varnishes or vascular plants and their seeds;
- a substance specified in the first column of the Second Schedule and constituted or used in the manner specified in the second column of that Schedule;
- any article containing barium carbonate or zinc phosphide which has been prepared for the destruction of rats or mice;
- cannabis or a cannabis derivative when used as an ingredient in
a corn paint.
- a solution or mixture, in any physical state, containing a medicine or a therapeutic substance; or
- a medicine or a therapeutic substance in dosage form.
- means a substance whose purity and potency cannot be adequately tested by chemical means; and
- includes a preparation.
Pharmaceutical products are divided into prescription pharmaceutical products, non-prescription pharmaceutical products and simple medicines.
1.2 Regulatory Bodies
The Pharmacy Board is responsible for the regulation of pharmaceutical products whereas the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection is responsible in terms of pricing.
Medical devices and cosmetics are not regulated under Mauritius laws.
Nutritional products are regulated by the Foods Act 1998 and the Food Regulations 1999 (the "Regulations").
"Food" is defined in the Food Act 1998 as any article or substance meant for human consumption and includes:
- drinks and bottled water;
- chewing gum and other products of similar nature and use; and
- articles and substances used or intended for use as ingredients in the composition or preparation of food, but does not include:
- live animals, birds or live fish which are not used for human consumption while they are alive;
- fodder or feeding stuffs for animals, birds or fish;
- drugs or medicine as defined in the Pharmacy Act; and
- hormonal products or veterinary products for use in livestock feed.
No person shall import or manufacture any food, pre-packed food, container or contact material intended to be used for the preparation of any food listed in the third schedule to the Regulations (set out below) unless he has obtained a pre-market approval permit issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life (the "Permanent Secretary").
LIST OF FOOD, PREPACKED FOOD, CONTAINER AND CONTACT MATERIAL REQUIRING PRE-MARKET APPROVAL
- any novel food (being any food which has not previously been used for human consumption in Mauritius)
- artificial sweetener
- baby feed bottle, teat, nipple and baby feed mug
- breakfast cereal
- canned food for infant and child, infant formula, icing sugar
- cereal based food for infant and child
- coffee and chicory blend, cocoa, jam
- confectionery, snack and cracker, water, chocolate, pastry
- dry egg powder, liquid egg including egg yolk and egg white
- edible fat and oil, including shortening, margarine, vanaspati, ghee
- fish product
- food additive
- food conditioner
- food container and contact material
- formula dietary food
- frozen confection and related product
- fruit juice, fruit cordial, soft drink, soft drink powder
- irradiated food
- low energy food
- meat product
- milk and milk product including ice cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk, sterilised milk, UHT milk, tinned cream, cheese, butter
- mixed spice, pickle, preserved vegetable, preserved egg
- non-alcoholic beverage
- nutrient supplement
- oriental saffron (Jaffran)
- poultry product
- refined salt, table salt, iodised salt, low sodium salt, salt for salting fish
- roasted cereal, nut
- sauce, vinegar, relish, including salad dressing and mayonnaise, seasoning
- self-raising flour, baking ingredient
- special purpose food
- tomato paste, ketchup, bottled water
A person who applies for a pre-market approval permit must furnish to the Permanent Secretary:
- an original certificate of analysis from an accredited laboratory from the country exporting the product, certifying the chemical composition and microbiological safety of the product; and
- such other document or information, or such sample for analysis or examination, as the Permanent Secretary thinks fit.
The Permanent Secretary may, in deciding whether to grant or refuse an application for a pre-market approval permit, consider among other factors whether the food, pre-packed food, appliance, container or contact material subject matter of the application is:
- violating any regulation made under the Food Act 1998;
- restricted for sale in Mauritius;
- improperly labelled; or
- likely to be hazardous to public health.
The Permanent Secretary may stipulate such conditions as he deems fit in a pre-market approval permit.
In borderline cases and in any event, the Permanent Secretary has the sole discretion to determine whether the pre-market approval will be granted.
The law does not provide any appeal procedure where the initial decisions are unfavourable.
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Originally published in Chambers Life Sciences 2017 – Mauritius
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.