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Representative image

Countries' medicines lists differ from one another, WHO's model list: Study

ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2019 18:51 IST

Washington DC [USA], June 3 (ANI): A recent study suggests that most of the country's essential medicines lists differ from one another and from the World Health Organization's (WHO) model list, emphasising on need for significant care in choosing medicines that best meet the health care requirement of the citizens.
Published in the Journal of World Health Organization Bulletin, the research analyzes 137 countries that use essential medicines lists to inform government and health-care institutions in determining which medicines to fund, stock, prescribe and dispense.
Dr Nav Persaud, a scientist and a team of researchers from WHO, found that countries' lists varied from one another and from the WHO's model list of medications.
Of the 2,068 unique medicines identified by Dr Persaud and his team, most were listed by only 10 per cent of the countries.
"Countries must select medicines for their essential medicines lists appropriately, in order to facilitate sustainable, equitable access to medicines, and to promote their appropriate use. Differences between lists that are not explained by country characteristics may represent opportunities for improvement," said Dr Persaud.
Differences between national lists also extended to countries that are geographically close and similar, inconsistent with the researchers' expectation that countries with similar health-care needs, expenditures and status would select similar medicines.
In addition to a lack of consistency between countries, medicines listed by some countries had been withdrawn by others due to harmful effects, the team found.
To identify patterns, Dr Persaud and his team also compared each of the national lists with the WHO's model list of essential medicines. They found disparities, with most national lists containing more than 200 differences when compared with the WHO's model list.
Further research may identify explanations, such as differences in the processes for selecting appropriate and effective medicines, said Dr Persaud.
"Such information may help governments decide if medicines on their lists should be removed or if other medicines should be added. These results may identify opportunities to improve essential medicines lists and promote the appropriate use of medicines in support of universal health coverage," he said. (ANI)