Pharmaceutical procurement is a complex process involving many steps, agencies, ministries and manufacturers. Problems are common. They include inadequate regulations and structures, insufficient or spasmodic government funding, inexperienced staff and lack of unbiased market information. Additionally, donor agencies may have conflicting procurement rules, while decentralization of drug procurement to provinces or districts can increase costs and decrease efficiency.
With this document, the Interagency Pharmaceutical Coordination Group aims to improve pharmaceutical procurement practices, and to increase cooperation among governments and donors. The text has been extensively reviewed by experts from international agencies, governments, nongovernmental organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, essential drugs supply agencies and academia.
The approach sets out four strategic objectives and 12 operational principles for good procurement, which can be adapted by users. The principles are grouped into four categories: management, drug selection and quantification, financing and competition, supplier selection and quality assurance. Although applicable to all types of pharmaceutical procurement, the principles are primarily targeted at public sector health systems, no matter what combination of public and private services is used to manage those systems. Practical implementation issues and mechanisms to further improve procurement are also examined.
This is an interagency consensus document published by the WHO Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy on behalf of the organizations listed.