Donors should always respect the four core principles for drug donations presented above. Donors should also respect the national guidelines for drug donations and respond to the priority needs indicated by the recipient. Unannounced donations should be prevented as much as possible.
Avoid donations of drugs with short expiry dates
The fundamental problem of donated drugs with short expiry dates has troubled recipients for many years. On the other hand, global experiences indicate that well-managed donor organizations and pharmaceutical companies are generally able to avoid donating products with short expiry dates. Some large companies have product outreach programmes under which products are specifically donated from normal inventories, on the basis of an agreed-upon schedule, to meet recipients’ needs.
One objective of the Guidelines is to reduce donations of drugs with short expiry dates through better inventory control on the part of donor companies and intermediaries, and through better communications. Donors and intermediaries should avoid donations of drugs with short expiry dates as much as possible.
Inform the public
The general public in the donor country is not always aware of the common problems with drug donations. It is therefore important that governments in donor countries make some effort to create more public awareness on “good donor practice”. The best moment for this is probably at the time of the public appeal through the media.
Establish donor coordination
It is recommended that within the recipient country the different donors collaborate in the establishment of a coordinating body. In emergency situations this is essential. This body should determine the needs, priorities, storage, logistics and distribution, and act as the central contact point in discussion with the recipient government authorities.
The responsible government department should supply relief agencies with as much information as possible about requested and approved donations. Conversely, relief agencies should keep the donor coordinating body and the responsible government department fully informed of the specific identity, arrival dates, quantities, and expiry dates of donations. This will greatly assist the co-ordinating body in the recipient country to plan for the proper reception of the donations, and to identify the need for additional supplies.
Within donor countries all organizations should likewise establish a coordinating body at headquarters level, to ensure that appropriate donation policies and processes are followed.
The argument that products with short expiry dates can be donated in the case of acute emergencies, because they will be used rapidly, is incorrect. In emergency situations the systems for reception, storage and distribution of drugs are very often disrupted and overloaded, and many donated drugs tend to accumulate.