Medical Research Council
World Health Organization
Health Systems Trust
2011-2012 Education Sector HIV and AIDS: Global Progress Survey- Progression, Regression or Stagnation?UNAIDS
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
Essential Drugs List Programme
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.
Based on the primary health care concept of universal access to health care, the essential drugs programme will ensure that drugs for treating the most common ailments are made available and accessible to the entire population, at an affordable cost to both the government and the consumers. It is intended that such a policy will also promote a rational use of drugs and still achieve optimal therapeutic outcome. Introduced with the essential drugs list will also be a newly formulated set of treatment guidelines.
Many doctors welcome the concept of the essential drugs programme and feel that this will improve their (as well as nurse practitioners') practice, since they will get the opportunity to understand the working of a small number of drugs better than a list of thousands. The prospects for the rural doctor are even brighter, given the plan's promise to ensure delivery of medicines to outlying clinics. They do think however, that the list should be adapted to each area.
Stakeholders within the private sector support the implementation of the essential drugs list in the public sector, but become controversial when the prospects of extending the initiative into the private sector are discussed. One view held is that an essential drugs list should not be imposed on the private sector for use as a tool to deal with the problems of high prices and theft of drugs from the public sector facilities (subsequently distributed in the private sector). Rather, these issues ought to be addressed directly. Counter arguments to the above view asserts that an essential drugs list could be a useful element in the private sector to control overservicing, but only in a system of managed health care.
Critical to the success of the essential drugs list is the process of support for its implementation, without which the list becomes merely a highly restricted inventory.