- Medicine Information and Evidence for Policy > Information and Publications
- Medicine Access and Rational Use > Rational Use
(2005; 165 pages)
Using medicines safely and effectively requires that information is available to prescribers and others who give advice about medicines and also to patients or the public. This is true for developed, transitional and developing countries. Exactly what information is needed will depend on the local context and situation. Providing information in an impartial, objective and accessible way is a challenge. One effective approach is local production of a drug bulletin, and this manual aims to show global experiences in starting or strengthening such a bulletin. To achieve this goal the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB) have worked together on the project to develop and publish this manual.
ISDB is a worldwide network of independent bulletins that promote rational prescribing. Bulletins provide reliable comparative information on drugs and therapeutics that is in the context of local needs and local use. These ideals are very much in accord with those of WHO, so working together with ISDB to produce a manual on starting or strengthening a drug bulletin was a natural development.
From the outset, each organization's role in producing the manual was clear. The text was to be drafted and edited by ISDB members, who had final responsibility for the 'message'. WHO would advise and comment on content, and help with publication and distribution. This collaboration builds on a long history of shared ideals and mutual respect, and it was not by chance that when the Society was launched in 1986 it was with support from the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The manual continues this tradition, and we are delighted to publish it. We have no doubt that it will be a help to those wishing to start on the bumpy road to bulletin publication, and will strengthen those who are already active in the field.
Impartial, clear, reliable and up-to-date advice and information about treatments are invaluable. They have an added advantage if delivered in a local context by local experts. Working in this context, independent bulletins can be a key means of improving patient and public health. By strengthening the provision of advice at local level, the manual will benefit health workers, patients and community members alike. In recent years the concept of the empowered patient and the informed community has grown. This development has been mirrored by drug bulletins, which initially focused on prescribers and pharmacists, but have since broadened, with many now producing materials for patients and consumers. We hope that our manual will encourage the trend in providing impartial information to health professionals and consumers.