Rationalizing Drug Use in Costa Rica. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 008 (1989)
(1989; 1 page)


Health care in Costa Rica is available to the entire population through the coordination of three main bodies: the Ministry of Health, the Institute of Social Security (CCSS) and the National Institute of Social Security. In 1982 a national formulary was established, containing 362 generic drugs. Each health care institution chose its own list from this formulary, and the formulary is updated periodically based on the WHO selection criteria of efficacy, security, cost/risk benefit, and combinations only in certain conditions. Strategies have been developed to promote rational drug use, including continued education for doctors and pharmacists, distribution of objective and current information to doctors and pharmacists, studies on consumption data, increased training and better packaging to improve acceptance of drugs from consumers. In addition, a voluntary system of notification of adverse drug reactions has been in place since 1986. The Monitor article emphasized Costa Rica as an example for positive change with limited resources.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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