During recent decades, society has attached great importance to improved health, and has witnessed a fast rising demand for health care. The very rapid growth of expenditure on medicines is of particular concern and it has attracted considerable political attention, in part no doubt because it is a concrete issue which at first sight appears readily amenable to economic control.
Many member states have over the years approached the World Health Organization for advice or information on the feasibility of measures to control the growth of expenditure on medicines. Such calls for help led the Organization as early as 1983 to undertake a study under the title “Drugs and Money”; it culminated in a deliberately concise report, providing a critical overview of the effectiveness of older cost-containment schemes while also paying attention to innovative ventures. The report was widely used and repeatedly updated, and this is now its seventh edition.
This latest edition aims to provide policy makers and regulators with a compact and practical review of the various approaches that have been developed and tested to date in an effort to contain the overall costs of pharmaceutical services and drug treatment. The true art of good housekeeping in this field is clearly to ensure that drugs continue to benefit society wherever they can, while eliminating every form of waste of public funds. Although the title “Drugs and Money” may to some suggest otherwise, this book also addresses issues of the organization, standards and delivery of health care. Many regulations concerning the intrinsic quality of pharmaceuticals, the quality of prescribing and the proper use of medicines have been introduced over the last four decades, and their influence is complementary to that of measures designed primarily to have economic effects in this field.
Unlike earlier editions of “Drugs and Money”, this volume devotes considerable attention to the special problems of developing countries and those where the economy is currently in transition.
ISBN 1 58603 334 4 (IOS Press)
ISBN 4 274 90582 9 C3047 (Ohmsha)