Syria's Minister of Health Explains National Drug Policy. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 014 (1993)
(1993; 2 pages)


Essential Drugs Monitor editor Daphne Fresle spoke with Professor Eyad Chatty, Syria’s Minister of Health, in Damascus regarding the new national drug policy enacted in early 1993. Chatty explained that Syria began manufacturing essential medicines as a means of being self-reliant. As a result, the pharmaceutical sector quickly grew without any guidance from national legislation. To govern the sector, Syria worked with the World Health Organization to develop a national drug policy. While developing this policy, Syria examined how different sectors are interconnected and also created a national drugs list focused on health systems, morbidity patterns, economics, and legislation. Syria has also developed close ties to public health workers and has restructured its technical drug committee. The committee meets twice each week and all meetings are chaired by Chatty. Later in the interview, Chatty stressed Syria’s commitment to supporting the public sector on a rational basis and encouraging the rational use of drugs. He suggested that promoting rational use will include controlling drug promotion, encouraging the use of generic medicines, and narrowing the information gap between medical professionals and patients. Chatty also believed it should be a priority to improve the communication skills of medical professionals and to broaden their views on medicine. Chatty concluded the interview by stating Syria must be open to change and continue to review and revise its policies at every level. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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