The Expectations, the Reality and the Burden of Drug Donations
(2010; 76 pages)


The objective of this study was to describe the profile of the donated medicines, and to determine appropriateness and the extent of compliance with the WHO guideline. The survey was carried out from March 2005 to July 2005 and included mainly donations received and handled by the Medical Supplies Division, Ministry of Health. The data was collected using a set of investigator administered questionnaires from the Medical Supplies Division, and from the administrators, pharmacists, stores managers in hospitals and refugees in camps from the tsunami affected areas. A product that had the same drug substance, in the same dosage form and in the same strength irrespective of their brand name and package size was classified as a ‘Unique drug product’ (UDP). To determine compliance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Donation Practices guideline, the 2003 version of the WHO Essential Medicines List, the Ministry of Health expressed list of needed drugs and the Sri Lanka Hospital Formulary List of Medicines were used. Useless drugs included medicines irrelevant to the epidemiological context or unregistered drug substances. Unusable drugs comprised medicines already expired on arrival or expired within a month of arrival, and unidentifiable drugs (labelled in unknown foreign languages / no labels). Appropriateness was also checked by comparing items with the WHO list of essential medicines in emergency situations. 8 RESULTS The majority of the UDPs (≈ 80%) were unsolicited, and arrived unannounced and in unsorted boxes. Around 50% of the donations were inappropriate collections of unused drugs from private individuals collected at various centres and transported via international relief organizations. These donations were a mixture of many different products mixed with other relief items. Fifty three percent of UDPs belonged to the ‘non list’ category (not listed in the MOH list, WHO – ML, HFL, WHO Emergency Medicines List) and 38% of the drug substances were never registered for use in the country...

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