Essential Drugs Monitor No. 007 (1988)
(1988; 20 pages) [French] [Spanish]


The seventh edition of the Essential Drugs Monitor focuses on the definition of and problems surrounding rational use. This theme is detailed in a feature article on the global presence of irrational prescribing. The article cites several studies that quantitatively analyzed problems including polypharmacy, inappropriate prescribing, self-medication and pharmaceutical promotion. The article describes the profound effects on the economic, social and physical well-being of patients and countries that have resulted from these problems. An article on the five levels of rational use complements this feature article. This issue also contains a comprehensive article on the Philippine’s National Drug Policy, written by the country’s Under-Secretary of Health, Mr. Rhais Gamboa. The four major elements of the policy are drug safety, rational use, local production and improved drug procurement. Mr. Gamboa stated that the government has a clear vision for the policy but implementation will pose the largest obstacle to the success of the legislation.

This Monitor also includes a summary of the 41st World Health Assembly. Delegates expressed approval of the WHO’s Revised Drug Strategy; noted difficulties with infrastructure, training and access to objective drug information; and endorsed the Chiang Mai Declaration’s call to establish conservation programmes for traditional medicinal plants. Another article transcribes an interview with Professor A.J. Khan, Director-General of Health in Pakistan, who stated efforts are being made to increase drug availability and information. This issue also contains an article on Bangladesh’s effort to improve access to essential drugs through a pilot program that hopes to cover 1.5 million people. Other features include an update on the 1984 essential drugs programme in Democratic Yemen, a commentary on the need for global collaboration on drug safety, and two articles on new techniques for education and training of future health workers. The Newsdesk contains short articles on the Bamako Initiative, the newly-inducted Director-General’s call for a redistribution of resources, and the Christian Medical Commission’s recently issued guidelines for drug donation. The Published Lately section mentions several recent WHO publications including the Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion, as well as a British Medical Association report on the problems of medicines in developing countries.

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