Managing Pharmaceutical Programs. (MDS-3: Managing Access to Medicines and Health Technologies, Chapter 37)
(2012; 21 pages)


Although management means different things in different contexts, all managers are responsible for the activities and accomplishments of their organization. Good management is about ensuring reliable operations that serve clients, staff, and other stakeholders in their efforts to reach common goals. As a result of the manager’s actions, the organization successfully and consistently does what it is supposed to do.

Managers must balance their time among the four activities of crisis management, routine administration, control and supervision of operations, and long-term program development. They are called upon to fulfill the roles of -

  • Leader: providing direction, motivating staff, maintaining liaison with other organizations
  • Coach: using a coaching style of interaction to improve employee performance
  • Communicator: maintaining networks of formal and informal contacts, disseminating information, serving as spokesperson
  • Decision maker: allocating resources, deciding on program change and development, solving problems, negotiating

Organizations need good leadership to move toward a better future and good management to make sure that current operations run smoothly and efficiently, and produce the intended results. Leading means enabling others to face challenges and achieve results under complex conditions. By using their adaptive skills, managers who lead are able to achieve results even when conditions are very difficult and resources scarce.

Effective managers require technical, analytical, and interpersonal skills. They set priorities based on the urgency, relevance, effect, future consequences, and growth of competing issues. They follow systematic processes for decision making and problem solving. Necessary skills can be acquired through formal management training programs and practiced in formal and mentoring situations.

The management process, which is at the hub of the pharmaceutical management framework, consists essentially of three basic functions -

  • Planning (see Chapter 38)
  • Implementation
  • Monitoring and evaluation (see Chapter 48)

Improvements in pharmaceutical systems involve change; leading well requires continuously adapting to changing conditions in the environment and helping others to do the same. To manage change effectively, managers who lead must understand the forces driving internal and external change, the sources of resistance to change, and the principles for successfully managing change.

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