Issues and challenges
Access to essential medicines
Essential medicines save lives and improve health, only if they are available, affordable and properly used. Limited access to the essential medicines is still common in many countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region.
National medicines policy
A national medicines policy is both a commitment and a framework for action in the pharmaceutical sector. It is an integrated and coordinated effort for achieving goals i.e. equitable access to good quality essential medicines and their appropriate use. At present, some countries in the Region still have not set up their national medicines policy.
Irrational use of medicines by providers and consumers
Ineffective and harmful drug use practices are still common in health care facilities and communities across the Region. Examples include overuse and misuse of antibiotics and injections. Evidence proves that the increasing incidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) relates to the uncontrolled availability and inappropriate use of antibiotics.
Enforcement of medicine legislation and regulation
The goal of medicine legislation and regulation is to protect public health through ensuring the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines as well the accuracy of information to the users. Countries with weak regulatory systems cannot properly enforce regulations with a negative impact on the distribution, sale and use of medicinal products.
Counterfeit and sub-standard medicinal products
Counterfeiting of medicinal products is frequently encountered in many countries and areas, jeopardizing treatment outcomes and wasting resources. Counterfeiting is a crime which cannot be dealt with by the health sector alone. Enforcement of legislation is of the utmost importance for combating counterfeiting. The problem of sub-standard quality occurs when medicinal products are manufactured without compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).