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Essential medicines for mothers and children: a key element of health systems. Access to medicines and public pharmaceutical policy.
Entre Nous. 2009; (68):14-15.Medicines, when used appropriately, are one of the most cost effective interventions in health care. European countries spend an important part of their health budget on medicines, from 12% on average for the EU countries to more than 30% for the Newly Independent States (NIS) countries. Whereas in EU countries the larger part of the medicines expenditures are publicly funded through taxes and/or social health insurance, in the NIS and in the south eastern European countries it is often the patients who have to pay directly for the drugs themselves. This means that many patients simply do not get the drugs they need because they cannot afford them, and also may force families to incur enormous expenses as they sell their belongings in order to pay for their drugs and their health care.
AFRICA HEALTH. 2001 May; 23(4):37.Since AIDS has been considered the greatest public health challenge, the encouragement of the participation of drug companies and other "partners" in the fight against AIDS will be the personal priority of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. During a meeting in Amsterdam, where he met with top executives from the biggest drug companies--companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo SmithKline, Hoffman-La Roche, Abbot Laboratories, and Pfizer--he was promised an improvement in the accessibility to AIDS treatments in developing countries. This commitment has achieved price reductions of HIV/AIDS treatment drugs, with Bristol-Myers Squibb having achieved the biggest price reductions. A guide on the use of antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS patients lists methods of undertaking these treatments in resource-limited settings.
British Journal of Family Planning. 1998 Oct; 24(3):93.On June 11, 1998, Jenny Tonge, a former family planning doctor, tabled a motion in the House of Commons urging the House to recognize the efficacy and safety of hormonal emergency contraception (EC), and to consider pharmacy prescription to increase its availability in the UK. Dr. Tonge was supported by Members of Parliament from all parties. At the same time, the booklet "Twenty Questions about Emergency Contraception Answered" was launched. The Birth Control Trust hopes that it will serve the current debate on emergency contraception. At the booklet's launch, a panel of experts presented views and answered questions from the press and interested parties. Roger Odd, head of practice at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), noted that pharmacists are asked weekly for EC on weekends, often from distraught people looking for sympathetic, friendly assistance. Most pharmacists feel they could supply or sell EC according to approved guidelines. Such guidelines should be put together by the RPS and other professional bodies with the cooperation of the Department of Health. There should be no provision for referral if appropriate and no conclusion to supply by an individual pharmacist if he or she objected. Pharmacists would be covered by their own code of ethics. Practical considerations of increasing the availability of EC were noted by the managing director of Schering Healthcare, the distributor of PC4, the only UK-licensed EC product. The chief executive of the Family Planning Association (FPA) described how many men and women of all ages called the FPA national hotline for EC, while an International Planned Parenthood Federation representative described experience with EC in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Emergency Contraception Pilot Project in Washington, US, is noted.
World Health. 1981 May; 18-9.Conflict of interest between the public health sector and the commercial sector has given rise to the controversial question of regulating prophylactic, diagnostic, and therapeutic substances. The public health sector contends that effective drug regulation and control is necessary in any public health administration while the pharmaceutical industry claims that strict criteria for drug approval interferes with innovative research and drug development. In many countries, political pressures result in priority being given to commercial development rather than to health development. In view of this controversy, the WHO Regional Office for Europe sponsored a series of 9 symposia on "Clinical pharmacological evaluation in drug control" starting in 1972. The first symposium held in Heidelberg, Germany involved the assessment of preclinical data, selection of investigators and subjects for early human studies, design of clinical trials, assessment of risk/benefit in drug evaluation, and drug monitoring. The need to establish more facilities and to provide teaching in clinical pharmacology at both under- and post-graduate levels was emphasized. Also proposed during the meeting was the holding of pharmacological seminars at country and intercountry levels, international exchanges of clinical pharamacologists, and seminars on methodological and clinical pharmacologic aspects of drug consumption. The rest of the symposia discussed the following: 1) comparative studies on drug evaluation practice in various countries; 2) assessment of evaluation of specific groups of drugs; 3) evaluation of drugs in man at a European level; and 5) evaluation of conclusions and recommendation of previous symposia and provision of guidance for planning possible future meetings (e.g., focus on drugs for elderly, and for infants and children). The interest generated by the findings of the symposia has not been limited to the European region.