Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Close this folder2. Rational use of medicines
View the document2.1 The relationship between evidence and rational use
View the document2.2 Other influences on the choice of medicines
View the document2.3 Sources of information for prescribers
View the document2.4 The special role of drug bulletins
View the document2.5 Specific ways in which bulletins can help
View the document2.6 Bulletins as part of wider initiatives for promoting rational use of medicines
View the document2.7 Summary
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

2.6 Bulletins as part of wider initiatives for promoting rational use of medicines

Producing a bulletin is unlikely to be enough to affect prescribing practices. Drug bulletins can and have been used in medical education (e.g. Boletin AIS-COIME, Nicaragua; Therapeutics Letter, Canada; Australian Prescriber, Australia) and also to complement the work of drug information centres (e.g. Drug Bulletin, Pokhara, Nepal; Drug Bulletin, Kyrgyzstan).

To have influence in the broader dialogue on rational use of medicines in a country, bulletin staff may relate to and form loose partnerships with other leaders in the field (professional bodies, clinicians/prescribers, drug policy experts, regulators etc.) when they have developed credibility (see also Chapter 12). This does not mean that there should be formal alliances, but rather the aim is to engender a sense of mutual respect and understanding. In keeping with this, when preparing articles, bulletins should work with external referees/consultants from across national professional and consumer networks. While on occasion the position taken by a bulletin will be at odds with the general view, ideally articles should be seen as the product of wide consultation and so the consensus position of the health community at large. There is also a role for responding to questions, of being seen as a respected local resource to which the media, for instance, can turn as an impartial authority. Such a role can be time-consuming, and requires expertise, but is well worth cultivating if a bulletin wishes to be an established part of the national healthcare environment.

Case study: Drug Bulletin, Kyrgyzstan

Drug information centres have an important role in responding to the need for independent drug information. Our Drug Information Centre (DIC) was established and is maintained in collaboration with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Essential Drug Unit, and is coordinated by the Special Pharmaceutical Project for Newly Independent States. The DIC is a unit of the Department of Drug Provision and Medical Equipment under the Ministry of Health.

We work closely with the National Drug Committee and regularly take part in the revision of the Essential Drugs List and the development of a National Formulary for Kyrgyzstan. The DIC facilitates working groups designed to introduce clinical protocols with recommendations on evidence-based medicine, collects and circulates adverse drug reaction reports (as a member of the WHO International Monitoring Programme) and gives recommendations on the rational use of drugs. It is involved in monitoring implementation of national drug reform.

The Centre publishes a quarterly Drug Bulletin, which covers news about national drug policy, aspects of clinical pharmacology, pharmaceutical treatment and prevention guidelines, adverse drug reactions, etc. It is distributed free of charge to doctors, pharmacist and policymakers throughout Kyrgyzstan. Normally we distribute 3000 copies of the bulletin. Ideas for bulletin articles come from participation in the meetings of the Ministry of Health and Drug Department, requests from health professionals and the public, and from monitoring implementation of drug reform. Recent topics included: features of pharmacotherapy in paediatrics, drug interactions, medical errors related to the names of drugs, and modified - release preparations of drugs. Every year the DIC receives about 500 enquiries and teaches around 200 - 250 doctors and pharmacists. But there are 15,000 healthcare practitioners in Kyrgyzstan and most of them have no opportunity to contact us for drug information. Given our shortage of resources, the Drug Bulletin is the most accessible tool that reaches as many health practitioners as possible and disseminates unbiased and updated drug information and promotes rational drug use and aspects of health reform.

Contributed by Saliya Karymbaeva, Drug Bulletin, Kyrgyzstan.

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