Pharmaceutical management is the set of practices aimed at ensuring the timely availability and appropriate use of safe, effective, quality medicines and related products and services in any health-care setting. Countries shifting their first-line treatment policies to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) need a strong pharmaceutical management system to carry out the change successfully. An efficient system-
- Ensures access to a constant supply of high-quality, efficacious medicines and related health commodities. The reliable availability of medicines and health commodities promotes client trust and confidence in public health services, promotes treatment adherence, and helps to avoid medicine resistance.
- Promotes cost-efficiency and transparency in the procurement process and controls wastage of pharmaceuticals and commodities. Pharmaceuticals and commodities are expensive, so they require appropriate management to minimize costs as well as losses during procurement, distribution, and use.
- Responds adequately and promptly to changes in treatment programs. Managing medicines and health commodities for some disease treatment programs is more complex than for routine supplies. In fact, some treatment programs operate in a constantly changing environment, and management support systems must be flexible.
- Promotes the rational use of medicines. Careful selection, efficient distribution, and appropriate prescribing and dispensing practices are necessary to promote proper use of medicines and a high level of adherence to prescribed therapy, both of which are necessary for safe and effective treatment.
- Leads to general improvement in the supply and use of other health commodities within the public health care system. A good pharmaceutical management system can ultimately have a positive "spill-over" effect on other areas of the public health system if the systems are integrated. Many of the pharmaceutical system improvements are system-based as opposed to being disease-specific and, hence, can benefit many other public health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
- Improves coordination and synergy among the various stakeholders involved in the pharmaceutical management supply chain. Effective pharmaceutical management systems can provide an opportunity to standardize approaches, share resources, and create economies of scale.
For more detailed information about pharmaceutical management in general, refer to Managing Drug Supply: The Selection, Procurement, Distribution, and Use of Pharmaceuticals (2nd Edition, 1997).
A variety of tools and publications on managing pharmaceuticals and commodities for malaria are available on the Rational Pharmaceutical Management Plus, Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems, and Management Sciences for Health websites -
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