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(2012; 9 pages)
Preface by Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH.
It is my great pleasure to present MDS-3: Managing Access to Medicines and Health Technologies. In the thirty years since the original publication of Managing Drug Supply, the world has experienced remarkable changes as the global health context has evolved. Think, for example, about the profound impact that HIV/AIDS alone has had. Advances in science and medicine, donor funding for vast global health initiatives, the advent of innovative information technologies, and a greater focus on building strong health systems have fundamentally affected our work. What has not changed over the years is MSH’s commitment to identifying problems in access to and use of medicines and designing and implementing relevant, effective responses. We hope that MDS-3 will be a valuable tool in the effort to ensure universal access to quality medicines and health technologies and their appropriate use.
The new and updated information in MDS-3 reflects the dramatic changes in the public health landscape. Nearly 100 experts from a wide range of disciplines and virtually every corner of the world have contributed to this third edition. In addition to new country studies, references, and extensive revisions, MDS-3 offers new chapters on areas such as pharmaceutical benefits in insurance programs, pricing, intellectual property, drug seller initiatives, and traditional and complementary medicine. The revisions and new chapters echo the wide variety of issues that are important to health practitioners and policy makers today. Even the book’s new title depicts the need to broaden our focus from medicines to include health technologies, such as test kits and laboratory supplies, and to embrace the concept of access. Too often people assume that if medicines and technologies are available, positive health outcomes will naturally result. Access, however, encompasses not only product availability, but also the need to provide medicines and pharmaceutical services that are safe, efficacious, cost-effective, and high quality. Equally important are affordability and acceptability, including cultural and personal preferences.
We hope that MDS-3 will be used widely by those with an interest in improving access to medicines and health technologies. To make the book accessible to as many users as possible, we are making the content available in several formats. The easiest way to access MDS-3 is online at http://www.mds-online.org. The entire book can be searched online, and individual chapters can be downloaded. MDS-3 is also available directly from MSH on flash drive or CD-ROM for those without reliable Internet access or who prefer these media. We are working on an arrangement to make print copies available as well.
As users of MDS-3, you are vital to ensuring that it remains a valuable and dynamic resource. Your suggestions for enriching and updating the information and improving its presentation are greatly welcome. We will update individual chapters as needed to provide new material in a timely manner. Please send suggestions to us at email@example.com. We acknowledge with great appreciation all the authors, reviewers, and others whose efforts are reflected in MDS-3. Any contribution that MDS-3 makes is a direct result of their knowledge, experience, and deep dedication—and of the hard work of those around the world who each day strive to help their countries and their programs realize the full health impact of ensuring access to medicines and health technologies for all.