Dr G. Erdenetsetseg, Mongolia
As a result of democratic reforms in Mongolia, the social and economic situation has changed rapidly. Among the difficulties encountered as a result of these changes is drug access and availability, while budget shortages, low purchasing power among the population, a small market, and other factors aggravate the situation.
Mongolia imports about 85% of its pharmaceutical products. A centralized public agency for drug supply is responsible for approximately 75-80% of drug procurement. For the most part, private enterprises conduct drug retailing functions.
Since 1992, Mongolia has received donations of drugs in the amount of more than US$6 million. These donations were received as a result of Government requests from donor countries, with the support of UN agencies. Other kinds of drug donations to Mongolia have been received. These have been made through agreements between hospitals, as direct donations to specific population groups, and in the form of emergency assistance.
From the sale of donated drugs, the Government has created the Drug Revolving Fund for financing drug supplies. The donation of drugs has played a crucial role in the implementation of a national drug policy, and in providing drug supplies during transitional years. Drug donations are extremely important in times of economic difficulty. Proper management of drug donations can realize the greatest benefit for the health of the population.
The recipient country should have its own drug policy, good working drug procurement, and an effective distribution system. Competent information exchange concerning drug donations has been crucial. However, because of limited information, some %unnecessary donations have been received. Due to lack of drug donation regulations, Mongolia has had to return or to discard some portions of donated drug supplies.
As a recipient of drug donations for the last seven years, the experience of Mongolia has demonstrated the importance of legislative and administrative regulations for drug donations. These regulations are necessary to avoid donors incurring unnecessary expense, and to achieve the highest possible benefit for the population of the recipient country.