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Open Access Research article

Monitoring of National Drug Policy (NDP) and its standardized indicators; conformity to decisions of the national drug selecting committee in Iran

Shekoufeh Nikfar1*, Abbas Kebriaeezadeh2, Reza Majdzadeh3 and Mohammad Abdollahi2

Author affiliations

1 Iran Drug Selecting Committee Secretary, Drug Regulatory Affairs, Deputy of Food & Drug, Ministry of Health & Medical Education, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Toxicology & Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Institute of Public Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2005, 5:5  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-5-5

Published: 10 May 2005

Abstract

Background

Pharmaceuticals have made an important contribution to global reductions in morbidity and mortality. To help save lives and improve health, it is important to be sure about equity to access to drugs, drug efficacy, quality and safety, and rational use of drugs, which are standardized National Drug Policy (NDP) objectives. NDP's indicators are useful to evaluate the pharmaceutical system performance in a country. Iran has adapted a National Drug List (NDL). Since management of drug supply in Iran takes place only for drugs that have been selected in NDL and this list is selected by the member of Iran Drug Selecting Committee (IDSC), thus evaluation of IDSC's decision making during last 5 years is an appropriate way to evaluate the implementation of drug supply system in the country.

Methods

To identify strengths and weaknesses of pharmaceutical policy formation and implementation in Iran, four standard questionnaires of the World Health Organization (WHO) were used. To assess the agreement between decisions of IDSC and standardized NDP indicators in the last 5 years (1998–2002), a weighted questionnaire by nominal group technique based on the questions that should be answered during discussion about one drug in IDSC was designed and used.

Results

There is a totally generics based NDP with 95% local production, that provides affordable access to drugs. The system, structures, and mechanisms were in place; however, they did not function properly in some topics. Assessment of 59 dossiers of approved drugs for adding to NDL during last 5 years showed that IDSC's members pay more attention to efficacy, safety, and rationality in use rather than accessibility and affordability.

Conclusion

Revision of drug system in term of implementation of the processes to achieve NDP's objectives is necessary to save public health. Clarification of NDP's objectives and their impact for IDSC's members will result in improvement of the equity in access to pharmaceuticals.