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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Country perspective: National pharmaceutical supply systems are facing unparalleled demands

Eva Ombaka, Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network, P. O. Box 73860-00200, Nairobi, Kenya, 254-20-4444832, epn@wananchi.com

Countries that are scaling up programs to increase access to medicines, such as those with national AIDS treatment targets, are now readying their supply systems to meet those targets. However, growing pressure to scale-up access to medicines is exposing weaknesses in how developing countries procure and distribute pharmaceuticals to their citizens. Public-sector supply systems in affected countries—primarily in Africa—are expected to adapt existing systems to manage hugely increased volumes of medicines and commodities. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that these systems may not be able to handle the additional demands brought on by this rapid influx of funding; the United Nations Millennium Development Project identified weak procurement and distribution practices in the public sector as a major problem in the availability of essential medicines in developing countries. Counterparts in the faith-based and the for-profit private sectors will likely be looked to for help, but neither faith-based systems nor the private sector offer ready-made solutions to the scaling-up problem. The amount of space available to store medicines and supplies is an immediate issue, but long-term issues are infrastructure, management systems, information technology, and adequate and experienced staffing that are currently lacking in the health systems of many resource-limited countries. Regulators are already stretched thin, with counterfeit and substandard products posing an increasing threat. In addition, juggling variable donor requirements for funding and reporting requires technical expertise and national-level coordination.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Any relevant financial relationships? No

    Meeting the Pharmaceuticals Access Scale-up Challenge

    The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA