Medicines

Rational Use of Medicines: Activities

Our goal: Ensure therapeutically sound and cost-effective use of medicines by health professionals and consumers

Improving the use of medicines by health workers and the general public is crucial both to reducing morbidity and mortality from communicable and non-communicable diseases, and to containing drug expenditure.

Ideally, therapeutically sound and cost-effective use of medicines by health professionals and consumers is achieved at all levels of the health system, and in both the public and the private sectors. A sound rational drug use programme in any country has three elements:

  • Rational use of medicines strategy and monitoring -- advocating rational medicines use, identifying and promoting successful strategies, and securing responsible medicines promotion.
  • Rational use of medicines by health professionals -- working with countries to develop and update their treatment guidelines, national essential medicines lists and formularies, and supporting training programmes on rational use of medicines.
  • Rational use of medicines by consumers -- supporting the creation of effective systems of medicines information, and empowering consumers to take responsible decisions regarding their treatment.

The above elements were developed in close collaboration with the regional and country offices. They are formulated in such a way as to reflect the main responsibilities of a national essential medicines programme.

Rational medicine use strategy and monitoring : Support countries in implementing and monitoring a national strategy to promote rational use of medicines by health professionals and consumers.

Rational medicine use by health professionals: Develop national standard treatment guidelines, essential medicine lists, educational programmes and other effective mechanisms to promote rational medicine use by health professionals.

Rational medicine use by consumers : Establishing effective medicines information systems to provide independent and unbiased medicine information – including on traditional medicine – to the general public and to improve medicine use by consumers.

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