(1999; 6 pages)
This paper assesses the relevance and time-to-expiry of pharmaceutical donations by the USA by means of a convenience sample of two private voluntary organizations. Data were collected on 16 566 donations shipped between 1994 and 1997 for the two organizations to a total of 129 countries. For three field study countries (Armenia, Haiti, and the United Republic of Tanzania), between 37% and 65% of donated unique drug products were on the recipient countries' essential drugs lists, and between 50% and 80% were either on these lists or were permissible therapeutic alternatives. Between 10% and 42% were not listed on either the national essential drugs lists or the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs, nor were they permissible therapeutic alternatives. For the worldwide data set, the median times to expiry when shipment by the organizations took place were 599 and 550 days; about 30% of shipment items had a year or less of shelf-life, and about6%had less than 100 days of shelf-life. Although a majority of the donations fulfilled the criteria of relevance and time-to-expiry, a substantial proportion failed to do so. Actions are proposed with a view to improving the relevance and time-to-expiry of USA pharmaceutical donations.