Eastern Caribbean States Seek Drug Sufficiency. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 004 (1987)
(1987; 2 pages)


The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) launched a Regional Pharmaceuticals Project for the Ministries of Health of member countries in 1988. Six of the eight OECS member countries participated in the project. The project was a continuation of earlier efforts made by the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, and CARICOM to provide technical assistance, training, construction, and equipment for upgrading each Ministry of Health’s drug procurement and distribution system. The Organization hired the non-profit organization Management Sciences for Health to provide additional technical assistance at the national and community levels. At the regional level, the project established a new Eastern Caribbean Drug Service (ECDS) in St. Lucia. The ECDS serves as a centralized tendering service for participating member states. By using one centralized procurement service that can make bulk purchases and assure prompt payment to suppliers, the ECDS was expected to lower pharmaceutical costs in the region by 25%. Additionally, ECDS intended to help provide quality assurance. An ECDS newsletter was published as a means of strengthening idea exchanges and professional networks. According to the article, the ultimate goal of the five-year project was a more effective and efficient use of public sector health resources. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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