Unanimous Praise for WHO's Revised Drug Strategy. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 007 (1988)
(1988; 2 pages)


At the 41st World Health Assembly, held in Geneva in 1988, delegates praised the work of the Action Programme on Essential Drugs and the development of the essential drugs concept. The delegate from Democratic Yemen expressed appreciation for the new policies providing a means of better and more economic drug procurement and storage. Some problems with the Revised Drug Strategy were mentioned, such as difficulties establishing local industry and problems resulting from limited foreign exchange. The majority of the discussion from the floor focused on support for training advisory groups, adoption of the WHO ethical criteria for drug promotion, the importance of comprehensive and objective drug information, the WHO Certification Scheme on the Quality of Pharmaceutical Product moving in International Commerce, and the complementarity between traditional medicines and rational drug use. Representatives from the International Organization of Consumer Unions, the World Federation of Proprietary Medicine Manufacturers, and International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations also spoke at the Assembly and expressed their thoughts on the Revised Drug Strategy and the Action Programme’s work. The WHO’s response to the Assembly focused primarily on its role in supplying drug information. Speaking on behalf of Director-General Halfdan Mahler, the WHO Advisor on Health Policy also mentioned that the field of training had thus far been insufficiently supplied with resources and greater emphasis must be placed on rational prescribing. The Programme Manager of the Action Programme on Essential Drugs added that only a small number of medical schools contained the essential drugs concept as part of their curricula. The Manager then proposed greater education on the essential drugs concept and increased development and testing of training materials and national training programmes. The WHO concluded its response with comments on the Bamako Initiative. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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