Drug Selection, a Way to Better Therapy?
(1985; 6 pages) [French]


In developing countries with a limited health care budget, scare foreign exchange, and often lack of organized drug supply and manpower, the selection of essential drugs, their availability and affordability should be based on a national drug policy linked to health care needs. A limited list of essential drugs may not provide for the needs of every person, but should meet those of the vast majority. The concept of essential drugs, formularies, therapeutic committees, and educational and training programmes are discussed. Examples are given of essential drug programmes in Rwanda and Kenya, where monitoring and evaluation of the programmes and the education of professionals and public are necessary ingredients for success.

The advantages of an essential drug programme are:

  • (1) reduction in number of pharmaceutical products to be purchased, stored, analyzed and distributed;
  • (2) improvement in the quality of drug use, management, information, and monitoring.
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