Better Medicines for Children Project. Overview of Methods for Medicines Availability and Pricing Surveys
(2009; 70 pages)


The availability and price of paediatric medicines will be surveyed in selected African countries and five Indian states as part of the Better Medicines for Children project. This report describes the key elements of the survey protocol, and includes a more detailed guide for survey preparation and implementation (Annex 1).

In the survey, data on the availability and patient price of a selection of paediatric medicines will be collected from medicine dispensing points in the following sectors (where applicable): public, private - retail pharmacies, private - licensed drug shops, informal (retail stores), NGO, mission, dispensing doctors and private clinics. Public sector procurement prices will also be collected. The methods proposed for the conduct of the availability and pricing surveys take account of regional differences between Africa and India.

Work in Africa will focus on availability and pricing surveys only and methods built around the model of data collection used successfully in paediatric medicines surveys conducted in 2007. Surveys will be conducted in three regions (urban, peri-urban, and rural) in each participating African country. There is extensive survey work already being undertaken in Africa and a risk of “survey fatigue”. Managing issues around the number, timing and scope of medicines surveys in Africa will be critical to the success of the Better Medicines for Children project.

Survey work in India will include availability and pricing surveys as well as price components analysis for selected paediatric medicines. The methodology for the price components survey is described in Annex 2. Methods used in survey work in India will more closely resemble the formal WHO/HAI methodology and will include 6 geographical or administrative areas in each state.

A list of 23 paediatric medicines and one device (spacer for use with metered dose inhalers) has been developed for inclusion in all surveys, as appropriate. In addition, it is recommended that the surveys include additional country-specific medicines. In the interests of containing the scope and size of the surveys, it is recommended that there be a maximum of 7 country-specific medicines so that the total number of medicines surveyed does not exceed 30.

The overarching principle for the selection of medicines for inclusion in the survey is that the medicines should be used to treat common conditions affecting children, maximising the chances that changes in availability and affordability of medicines will deliver measurable changes in childhood morbidity and mortality. Additional criteria for the selection of medicines included in the surveys should be explicit.

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