In addition to the usual updates on recent drug safety and regulatory information for medicines, this issue of the newsletter features an article summarizing the decisions regarding the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) -antidepressants in children. Most of these products appear to have a negative benefit-risk balance when used in treating major depressive disorder (MDD) in children.
HIV/AIDS was one of the key health issues that figured in the discussions of the recently concluded Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. Through Resolution WHA57.14 on HIV/AIDS (http://www.who.int/gb), the WHA requested the Director-General to strengthen the WHO prequalification project managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for pharmaceutical and diagnostic products to diagnose, treat and manage HIV/AIDS and urged Member States to make best use of WHO's list of prequalified antiretroviral drugs that meet international quality standards (see http://mednet3.who.int/prequal for key facts on the WHO prequalification project).
With the global focus on treating HIV, and consistent with WHO's 3 by 5 initiative to provide treatment to three million HIV patients by the year 2005, it is timely that a training course will be held in September 2004 in South Africa to encourage the integration of pharmacovigilance for antiretrovirals in some sub-Saharan African countries. Details of this course as well as the complete course material will be made available on the website of the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy (EDM) http://www.who.int/medicines at a later date, after the course.