National pharmaceuticals policy
The new book How to develop and implement a national drug policy is now available as an official WHO publication. This replaces the Guidelines for developing national drug policies of 1988. The timing of this book may be quite significant for South Africa, since Dr Humphrey Zokufa indicated that the process of revising the South African National Drug Policy must start this year, at his address to the annual conference of the SA Association of Hospital and Instutional Pharmacists (1 Mar 2002). A national drug policy provides an invaluable strategic framework to identify national goals and commitments. This publication guides the reader through the development process of a national drug policy, and discusses key policy components like the selection of essential drugs, affordability, finance and supply, regulation and quality assurance, rational use, research, human resources, monitoring and evaluation. Each chapter presents useful practical advice and lists many references to other sources of more detailed technical information. ISBN 92 4 154547 X 83 pages price $23.40 ; 30% reduction for developing countries Copies can be ordered from the WHO Department of Marketing and Dissemination, e-mail email@example.com Single copies of the book are available free of charge to experts from developing countries, from the Documentation Centre of the WHO Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org The book is also posted on the EDM web site http://www.who.int/medicines. [Sources: E-drug, SAAHIP Conference www.saahip.org.za] The existing NDP is available from the DoH web site http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/policy/drugsjan1996.pdf or in HTML from http://www.sadap.org.za/ndp/
Dancing, singing and laughter filled the marquee in which several hundred people gathered to attend the launch of Pharmacy Awareness Week 2001 in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, on Monday. Health Department officials including Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and representatives of the Pharmaceutical Society of SA and the SA Pharmacy Council gathered at the Stretford Clinic to mark the beginning of the commemorative week. Tshabalala-Msimang said the day was a very emotional one for her. The department, through the current Medicine and Related Substances Control Amendment Act (1997) the Pharmacy Act (1997) and the National Drug Policy (1996), established a legal and policy framework that will ensure people have safe, quality and effective drugs in this country and ensure access to affordable essential medicines. Tshabalala-Msimang said it was encouraging to the values and principles of Batho-Pele (people first) were captured in the rights the people had when visiting a pharmacy. She stressed that people be treated with dignity, be seen by a pharmacist who can be identified by name and who kept confidentiality regarding an illness. Mariam Cassimjee, vice-president of the SA Pharmacy Council's Durban branch, said patients, particularly the majority who came from rural areas, needed to be educated and enlightened on all aspects including the need for medication for certain illnesses, nutrition and the responsibility to take medication timeously. (Source: SAPA, 10 September 2001)
Health Systems Trust
The rapid escalation of drug costs is a world wide problem. But by all accounts, drug prices in South Africa's private sector are among the highest in the world. The South African government has responded to this problem by way of developing a national drug policy . An important element of this is an essential drugs programme which has, in the first instance, been developed for the public sector primary health care facilities.