Nuria Homedes, MD, DrPH, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, El Paso Regional Campus, 632 Skydale, El Paso, TX 79912, 915 747 8508, firstname.lastname@example.org, Joan Rovira, PhD, University of Barcelona and World Bank, 1818 H Street, Washington, DC 20433, and Antonio Ugalde, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Texas-Austin, 1802 Westridge, Austin, TX 78704.
The World Bank (WB) has become a major player in shaping health sector policies in Latin America and its directives are well explained in the 1993 World Development Report “Investing in Health.” This report gives little attention to pharmaceutical policies and limits itself to recommending countries to take appropriate steps to improve the selection, acquisition and use of drugs, without detailing strategies to achieve that goal.
The World Bank does not have an official pharmaceutical policy but has been financing activities in the pharmaceutical sector of many Latin American countries since 1983. As in the rest of the world, the rise in the price of pharmaceuticals outpaces the rate of inflation, and although countries have significantly increased their pharmaceutical budgets the per capita availability and consumption of medicines has decreased. It is widely accepted that improving the use of medicines is key to improving the quality and efficiency of the medical services. In addition, since the poor spend a larger percentage of their income in drugs, improvements in the pharmaceutical sector may have an impact on equity.
Using World Bank project documents the authors describe the role that the Bank has had in the pharmaceutical sector of Latin America during the last decade and develop a typology of World Bank interventions. Case studies are also used to showcase each type of intervention.
Methodology: the review of the World Bank documents is complemented with in-depth interviews with pharmaceutical experts from different countries, international organizations and World Bank employees.
Keywords: International Health, Drugs
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA