Revised Drug Strategy. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 006 (1988)
(1988; 1 page)


A report from the World Health Organization on the world drug situation in 1988 was summarized in the sixth edition of the Essential Drugs Monitor. The report estimated that between 1.3 and 2.5 billion people do not have regular access to essential drugs, including more than 70% of people in the world’s poorest countries. The report found a growing gap between drug availability and access between developed and developing countries since 1976. In 1985, 75% of the global population lived in developing countries, but only 21% of all drugs produced were consumed in these countries. Causes for this gap include greater financial resources in developed countries and less rational drug use in developing countries. The report also found a considerable bias in pharmaceutical research and development; large American research and development firms were clear leaders in the market and most new research was oriented toward conditions found primarily in the developed world. The report is hopeful that developments such as the success of generic medicines in the United States will bring much needed changes to the global market as low-cost drugs become more available. The report stated that although local manufacturing has started in developing countries, many local manufacturing facilities tend to operate at a low capacity because they do not have trained staff, supporting industries, or a secure position in local markets. Positive developments during the previous decade were that many countries took active steps towards eliminating confusion in the pharmaceutical industry and most developing countries have adopted national essential drugs lists. The report concludes by recommending goals for the 1990s including achieving a more rational use of drugs and narrowing the gap between developed and developing countries. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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