The role of ethics in the rational use of medicine
AbstractThe Constitution of the World Health Organization states that, "The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.." Access to essential medicines and their rational use are crucial elements in the delivery of health services and health care and can be seen as a part of the fundamental right to health. This publication highlights the need to observe ethics and codes of conduct by four entitles associated with medicines. The researcher who is concerned with the development and discovery of drugs; the pharmaceutical manufacturer who is involved in the development, production and promotion of the medicines; the medical and allied professionals who prescribe, and dispense them and the government who is responsible for other regulatory control of medicines. Strategies to improve the use of medicines have also been delineated. The are: (1) institution of regulations based on ethics, equity and transparency; (2) research based on Good Clinical Practice; (3) drug development based on needs of countries including orphan drugs, antimalarials and anti-tuberculosis medicines; (4) marketing to be coupled with post-marketing surveillance for regulation of medicines and (5) ethical principles observed by all stakeholders in the medicines chain which includes research and development, clinical trials, registration, manufacturing, patents, prices, distribution, donations and promotion. Ethics should form an indispensable component of the strategy for promoting the rational use of medicines.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2007). The role of ethics in the rational use of medicine. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205995