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Annual Report 2002 - Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy: Supporting Countries to Close the Access Gap
(2003; 20 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentDeveloping a monitoring culture to improve impact
View the documentTraditional and complementary medicine: putting policy into action
View the documentKey country support in Africa and Eastern Mediterranean
View the documentWHO Collaborating Centres: supplying active support for medicines work
View the documentHow is TRIPS affecting access to medicines?
View the documentDevelopment of the essential drugs concept over the past 25 years
View the documentMeasuring access to antimalarials
View the documentStrengthening regional and national bulk procurement
View the documentLearning from successful supply systems
View the documentWorking out the cost of medicines
View the documentSupporting MDG target on access to essential medicines
View the documentCommon guideline for evaluating new medicines in Baltic countries
View the documentNGO toolkit for improving access to HIV/AIDS treatment
View the documentHarmonizing medicines regulation in the Americas
View the documentGood manufacturing practice in China: rapid progress
View the documentPharmacovigilance: detecting and reporting adverse drug reactions
View the documentVariations in prescribing information in 26 countries
View the document10th ICDRA: an international basis for medicines regulation
View the documentFighting poor-quality drugs
View the documentImproving medicines use in hospitals in Cambodia and Lao PDR
View the documentWHO-India Essential Drugs Programme: multiplying impact
View the documentOman: improving antibiotic use in primary health care

Fighting poor-quality drugs

Medicines to improve the quality of life of people with HIV/AIDS, to cure tuberculosis (TB) and to fight malaria are needed more than ever before. Increased financial commitment to supplying those medicines means that the resources for procuring these medicines are more readily available. But impacts will only be seen at country level if sufficient quantities of medicines of good quality can be procured and distributed.

Systematic procurement can both speed up medicines distribution and help maximize treatment outcomes - as well as optimize use of resources. WHO launched a project in 2001 to create unified standards for performing inspections at suppliers, and assessing regulatory information about product quality, before pharmaceuticals are sourced. In short, it created a Model Quality Assurance System. The vastly enhanced rate of "pre-qualification" now possible with this system has speeded up adjudication and contract award, and hence access to medicines. It has also helped to eliminate or vastly reduce the risk of sourcing sub-standard, counterfeit and/or contaminated medicines.

The initial focus of the project was on medicines for treating HIV/AIDS (but it has since been expanded to cover anti-TB medicines and antimalarials). By the end of 2002, 69 products, for treating HIV/AIDS, had been pre-qualified. Just as importantly:

• developing country capacity to produce good-quality antiretro-virals (ARVs) had been increased

• developing country regulatory capacity to assess ARVs had been strengthened

• international cooperation on medicines quality had been enhanced.


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