Malawi: New Drug Legislation and National Drug Policy Introduced. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 012 (1991)
(1991; 3 pages)


The feature article in the 12th edition of the Monitor is a detailed description of the drug legislation and policy of Malawi. In 1972, Malawi started developing an essential drugs list before the first WHO model list was created. By 1985, the Pharmacy, Medicine and Poisons Act was prepared with consultation from the WHO and interested private sector representatives. Including the private sector ensured the successful implementation of the Act. In 1987 the Malawi Standard Drug List was produced and widely distributed, along with a Malawi National Formulary. In that same year, the Malawai Essential Drugs Programme (MEDP) was established and qualified for World Bank funding after creating a five-year National Pharmaceutical Plan. This plan outlined the basis for planning and the implementation of pharmaceutical development over that period. The focus of the MEDP then shifted to promoting rational use through prescriber and consumer education. While the commitment to an essential drugs policy was implicit in the MEDP and other legislation, the government felt a written National Drug Policy was also needed. The Ministry of Health also hosted a three day National Drug Policy Seminar to explain the policy and implications to public and private representatives. Participants thoroughly analyzed and reached consensus on all parts of the policy and few changes were necessary. Major points during the seminar involved local manufacturing, labeling and advertising, generic prescribing, product substitution, waste disposal and training needs. The article concludes by stating that continued efforts in training staff to fill the shortage in workers and securing funding will be necessary for future success of Malawi’s national drug policy efforts.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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