Lack of essential medicines leads to the use of non-essential medicines, and lack of appropriately trained personnel leads to irrational prescribing by untrained personnel. Furthermore, without sufficient competent personnel and finances, it is impossible to carry out any of the core components of a national programme to promote rational use of medicines, Poor clinical outcome, needless suffering and economic waste are sufficient reasons for large government investment.
Governments are responsible for investing the necessary funds to ensure that all public health facilities have sufficient, appropriately trained health professionals and enough essential medicines at affordable prices for all the population, with specific provisions for the poor and disadvantaged. Achieving these will require limiting government procurement and supply to essential medicines only, and investing in adequate training, supervision and health staff salaries.
Monitoring medicine use and using the collected information to develop; implement and evaluate strategies to change inappropriate medicine use behaviour are fundamental to any national programme to promote rational use of medicines. A mandated multi-disciplinary national body to coordinate all activities and sufficient government funding are critical to success.