How to Develop and Implement a National Drug Policy - WHO Policy Perspectives on Medicines, No. 006, January 2003
(2003; 6 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentWhat is a national drug policy?
View the documentObjectives of a national drug policy
View the documentThe essential medicine concept is central to a national drug policy
View the documentThe national drug policy process
Close this folderKey components of a national drug policy
View the documentSelection of essential medicines
View the documentAffordability
View the documentFinancing options
View the documentSupply systems
View the documentRegulation and quality assurance
View the documentRational use
View the documentResearch
View the documentHuman resources development
View the documentMonitoring and evaluation
View the documentKey documents

Rational use

The rational use of medicines means that patients receive medicines appropriate for their clinical needs, in doses that meet their individual requirements, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community. Irrational drug use by prescribers and consumers is a very complex and widespread problem, which calls for the implementation of many different interventions at the same time. Efforts to promote rational use of medicines should also cover the use of traditional and herbal medicines. Key policy issues include:

• Mandated multidisciplinary national body to coordinate medicine use policies;

• Development of clinical guidelines as the basis for the selection of essential medicines and training of health professionals;

• Problem-based training in pharmacotherapy in undergraduate training;

• Continuing in-service medical education as a licensure requirement;

• Independent and unbiased medicine information;

• Public education about medicines;

• Avoidance of perverse financial incentives to prescribers and dispensers.


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