Invima strengthens inspection of medicines and medical devices at Colombia’s borders

The Colombian National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute (Invima), is today launching a new risk management system to strengthen its inspection, surveillance and control of medicines and medical devices that enter the country through ports, airports and border crossings.

The new system, IVC SOA Puertos®, will help Invima in its mission to protect the health of Colombians by allowing it to assess the health risk of medicines and medical devices from the moment they enter the country, and focus its technical and human resources on inspecting those that represent the greatest risk. New post-clearance inspections will supplement existing spot-checks at pharmacies and hospitals, meaning medical products are checked before they reach consumers.

The IVC SOA Puertos® model has already proven highly successful in making inspections of food and beverages at the border more effective since its introduction in March 2018. Physical inspections have reduced by 30% while processing time for low-risk shipments is down from up to a day to just one to two hours, helping traders and INVIMA move food across the border efficiently.

The system uses mathematical and statistical methods to assess the risk level of shipments and enables Invima to ensure goods are safe for consumption at the same time as facilitating traceability and tackling smuggling. Over time, the model generates greater knowledge about how goods are complying with sanitary standards and reduces the time and cost involved in importing and exporting for traders.

The project to introduce IVC SOA Puertos® has received technical support from the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, an initiative which brings together governments and businesses to deliver targeted reforms that make trade simpler, faster and more cost effective.

Philippe Isler, Director of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, said: “By involving the private sector in the process Invima has introduced greater protection to public health in Colombia in the most business-friendly way possible. Consumers can trust that essential medicines and devices are safe, while compliant traders can expect physical post-clearance inspections of their goods to reduce over time as the system ‘learns’ of their compliance.

“We look forward to working with Invima and business in the coming months to see how the system is working and measure its impact. Invima and the Colombian government are taking great steps forward to facilitate international trade and bring its economic and social benefits to Colombia, and the Alliance is committed to supporting that agenda.”