Procurement is an important step for efficient drug management and supply, and has become a routine procedure in the existing drug management system in many countries. An effective procurement process ensures the availability of the right drugs in the right quantities, at reasonable prices, and at recognizable standards of quality. Problems can often be encountered if procurement is carried out without such a systematic process, for instance the needed medicines are out of stock, overstocks and wastage of resources, and purchase of low quality products.
Given the impact of procurement activities on the operation and effectiveness of health services, it is essential that these activities be performed by trained staff using sound procedures. Effective procurement is a collaborative process between the procurement office, with needs of trained staff and an appropriate management system, and committees which make decisions as to which drugs to buy, in what quantities and from which suppliers.
This booklet is especially intended for countries with small procurement agencies. It is intended to provide practical guidelines for the procurement process. Pre-qualification of suppliers receives special attention as a means of ensuring the purchase of products of good quality. An effective procurement process will make an important contribution to the establishment of a reliable and good quality health service.
WHO’s work in essential drugs is designed to support Member States to ensure the accessibility of good quality essential medicines that are affordable and are rationally used. I hope this booklet will help the users to improve the efficiency of their drug supply systems through effective procurement.
Shigeru Omi, M.D., Ph.D.
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific