(1989; 2 pages)
The feature article in the eighth Monitor summarizes the First Latin American Conference on Pharmaceutical Policies and Essential Drugs, held in Mexico City from 10-14 October 1988. Participants from 21 Latin American countries came together to exchange insights on the challenges and potential solutions to creating and implementing a national drug policy. The effect of the economic crisis in this region significantly lowered the availability of and access to quality assured essential medicines, and this theme was present throughout the discussions. The conference focused on six areas: pharmaceutical policies, production, supply, rational use, regional cooperation and drug financing. Attendees included experts in medicine, pharmacy, sociology and anthropology. The interdisciplinary nature of the meeting increased understanding of the various components needed to plan and implement an effective drug policy. The general consensus at the meeting was that access to objective drug information for professionals and consumers is paramount to the health of Latin America’s population. It was recognized that quality information would improve education, legislation, drug selection, distribution and rational use by professionals and consumers. Participants also requested support for countries in the formulation and implementation of national policies from the WHO Regional Office for the Americas. Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.