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Tropical Doctor. 1984 Jan; 14(1):8.Enormous problems in developing countries concerning drug supply, such as inadequate control of money spent on drugs, insufficient government supervision of the importation and distribution of drugs, dumping, and so on, prompted the World Health Organization to set up an expert committee to compile a list of drugs which would provide adequate health care. This Essential Drug list is intended to extend the accessibility of the most necessary drugs to those populations whose basic health needs could not be met by the existing supply system. In cooperation with Medicus Mundi Nederland the use of this basic list is investigated in a population of medical doctors in Africa, sent out by Medicus Mundi. Investigated were: actual use of the essential drug; use of other drugs in the same pharmacotherapeutical group; priority; availability; and suppliers. In addition, insight into a number of other factors, such as the number of patients, beds, stocklists, local production, and supply of information, was obtained. The total number of patients in the combined areas was about 3,500,000. It was found that 3% of WHO's suggested drugs were not used at all, 22 essential drugs were used by only 5% of the doctors, and 41 essential drugs were used by more than 95% of the doctors. In the 1979 Revised List 25 drugs had been added and 10 deleted, compared with the 1st list, although it should be remembered that the differences were not always great. Several essential drugs mentioned for the 1st time in the Revised List are little used. Some complementary drugs scored better than the essential drugs from the same group. A number of drugs not mentioned in the List of Essential Drugs have a high priority. The results of the inquiry will be useful to evaluate the list further.
Tropical Doctor. 1984 Jan; 14(1):3-7.On April 27, 1982 the Ministry of Health of the government of Bangladesh, set up an 8-man expert committee to evaluate all the registered pharmaceutical products presently available, and to formulate a draft National Drug Policy. Objectives are: 1) to provide support for ensuring quality and availability of drugs; 2) to reduce drug prices; 3) to eliminate useless, nonessential, and harmful drugs from the market; 4) to promote local production of finished drugs; 5) to ensure coordination among government branches; 6) to develop a drug monitoring and information system; 7) to promote the scientific development and application of unani, ayurvedic, and homeopathic medicines; 8) to improve the standard of hospital and retail pharmacies; and 9) to insure good manufacturing practices. 16 criteria were agreed on as guidelines for evaluating the drugs on the country's market. Drugs in Bangladesh have been classified into 3 categories. The 1st is drugs that are positively harmful. They should be banned immediately and withdrawn from the market. There are 265 locally manufactured drugs and 40 imported drugs in this category. The 2nd, drugs to be slightly reformulated by eliminating some of their requirements. There are 134 drugs in this category. The 3rd is drugs that do not conform to 1 or more of the 16 criteria/guidelines. There are over 500 drugs in this category. The new drug policy will produce a saving of 800 million taka (US $32.4 million). Drug supply in Bangladesh is a problem. The public sector distributes 20% of the total. In the private sector, drugs are supplied through import and local production. Investment for research by the pharmaceutical companies is essential. The principles laid down by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations for the supply of good medicine needs to be put into practice.