Access to Medicines Publications in Developing Countries: A Bibliometric Study and its Implications for the Access to Medicines Research Network
(2010; 119 pages)


There are few articles about access to medicines in developing countries written by developing country authors. This bibliometric study was conducted to develop a baseline for measuring the availability of access to medicines publications. The baseline will help in future searches to assess if the creation of an Access to Medicines Research Network (ATM RN) will impact the number of publications both by developing country authors and about issues facing developing countries in accessing essential medicines. The methods described in this paper are intended for use by the ATM RN to help understand access to medicines research in developing countries.

I searched CSA Worldwide, EMBASE, Google Scholar, ISI Web of Knowledge, Popline (One Source) and PubMed for all publications regarding access to medicines and then limited to developing countries and the years 1999-2008. All duplicate publications were eliminated. The resulting publications were analyzed for country of origin of corresponding author, year published, World Bank income level, World Bank region and World Health Organization (WHO) region. In addition information on key publication themes (such as monitoring, intellectual property and medicines selection) were collected.

Authors from high-income countries were represented in a majority of all publications for both 1999-2008 (52%) and 2005-2008 (50%). Authors from low-income countries were represented in 19% of publications in 1999-2008 and in 21% of publications in 2005- 2008. American and European authors dominated publications. The top themes relating to access to medicines were monitoring, selection, intellectual property, prescribing and utilization and regulation and quality assurance.

Few articles about access to medicines in developing countries actually had “corresponding” authors from developing countries. An ATM RN will help to encourage contributions from more developing country scholars to the field of access to medicines research, which in turn, will hopefully increase access to medicines in developing countries.

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