Essential Drugs Monitor No. 006 (1988)
(1988; 16 pages) [French] [Spanish]


The sixth issue of the Essential Drugs Monitor opens with a note from the Editor of the Monitor congratulating the World Health Organization on 40 years of work and celebrating the tenth anniversary of the essential drugs concept. The feature article in the Monitor summarizes the “World Drug Situation,” a WHO report published in 1988. The report estimated that between 1.3 and 2.5 billion people, mainly in developing countries, do not have access to essential medicines. The report went on to say that there was an increasing gap in consumption and expenditure between the developed and developing worlds. It also stated drug use patterns in the developing world are less rational than in the developed world. The report found that research and development in the pharmaceutical industry are heavily concentrated in the developed world. As a result, most developed nations are self-reliant when it comes to medicines, while most developing nations are not. The article concluded with a summary of progress that has been made in the development of national drug policies and the adoption of national essential drug lists.

The remainder of this issue primarily focuses on improvements to national essential drug action programmes and national policies made during the previous few years. A study conducted by a WHO assessment team in Papua New Guinea in 1986 concluded that the country’s pharmaceutical supply system is fundamentally sound and is a good application of the essential drugs concept, but needs some minor adjustments. Bhutan, with the help of WHO, created and enacted a national drug policy in 1986 covering drug selection, quantification, quality control, drug information, monitoring and evaluation, and health care worker training. Vietnam also created a new Essential Drugs Programme applying core factors outlined by the WHO Action Programme. The Monitor also highlights the creation of an Essential Drugs Programme in Yemen and a pilot project in essential drugs in Guatamala. This issue also mentions achievements made in the creation of national drug policies in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Philippines. The Rational Use and Newsdesk sections describe new programmes, workshops, and systems that have been implemented throughout the world to promote rational drug use and the essential drugs concept. The Monitor concludes with a review of the WHO’s Revised Drug Strategy.

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