(2013; 56 pages)
The Asia Pacific Conference on National Medicines Policies, held in Sydney, Australia on 26–29 May 2012, was a follow-up conference to the very successful International Conference on National Medicinal Drug Policies held in Manly, Australia in 1995.
The 1995 conference brought together 300 people from almost 50 countries and focused on four key themes of national medicines policies, namely equity of access to medicines, rational use, the quality of medicines, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry.
The Manly conference produced a number of general recommendations along with specific recommendations relating to the four themes of the conference. The proceedings of the conference were reported in a supplement to Australian Prescriber (Aust Prescr 1997;20 Suppl 1).
The conference provided the impetus for policy work in the region, seeded a seminar on national medicines policies for 14 Pacific nations in 1996, promoted educational interventions in rational drug use and ethical promotion, and underpinned discussions on rational drug use that continued at the International Conference on Improving Use of Medicines held in Thailand in 1997.
Some 17 years after the Manly conference, 233 delegates from 46 countries participated in the Asia Pacific Conference on National Medicines Policies. The impetus for this conference was the recognition that while many countries in the Asia Pacific region reported having a national medicines policy, progress on the implementation of these policies had been inconsistent. In addition, it was recognised that robust and effective national medicines policies are an important tool in achieving the objectives of universal access to needed medicines and their rational use.
The conference provided the opportunity for countries in the Asia Pacific region to come together and share their knowledge, skills and experiences as they have moved to implement the various elements of their national medicines policies.
This report provides a record of selected presentations and discussions that occurred at the conference. However, it only provides a relatively small window on the work of the conference, the richness of the discussions, and the generous sharing of experiences in the successes, difficulties and ongoing challenges in implementing national medicines policies in the region.
In keeping with the conference theme of promoting and supporting further implementation of national medicines policies, there is particular emphasis in this report on identifying the key barriers and key enablers to policy implementation, steps to address these barriers and enablers, and how to monitor progress. Important outcomes of this conference are the continued commitment to further implementation of national medicines policies within the Asia Pacific region. There is enthusiasm for ongoing discussion between countries and the development of regional collaborations, groups and networks to support this important policy work.