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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Medicines : Rational use of medicines

From the World Health Organization, an important article which we need to adhere to, to avoid drug resistant viruses appearing more too often. Excerpt, but please read the whole article :

" Key facts

•More than 50% of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, and half of all patients fail to take medicines correctly.

•The overuse, underuse or misuse of medicines harms people and wastes resources.

•More than 50% of all countries do not implement basic policies to promote rational use of medicines.

•In developing countries, less than 40% of patients in the public sector and 30% in the private sector are treated according to clinical guidelines.

•A combination of health-care provider education and supervision, consumer education, and an adequate medicines supply is effective in improving the use of medicines, while any of these interventions alone has limited impact.

What are the consequences of incorrect use of medicines?

Incorrect use of medicines occurs in all countries, causing harm to people and wasting resources. Consequences include:

Antimicrobial resistance. Overuse of antibiotics increases antimicrobial resistance and the number of medicines that are no longer effective against infectious disease. Many surgical procedures and cancer therapies are not possible without antibiotics to fight infection. Resistance prolongs illnesses and hospital stays, and can even cause death, leading to costs of US$ 4–5 billion per year in the United States of America and €9 billion per year in Europe.

Adverse drug reactions and medication errors. Harmful reactions to medicines caused by wrong use, or allergic reactions to medicines can lead to increased illness, suffering and death. Adverse drug reactions have been estimated to cost millions of dollars each year.

Lost resources. Between 10–40% of national health budgets are spent on medicines. Out-of-pocket purchases of medicines can cause severe financial hardship to individuals and their families. If medicines are not prescribed and used properly, billions of dollars of public and personal funds are wasted.

Eroded patient confidence. Exacerbated by the overuse of limited medicines, drugs may be often out of stock or at unaffordable prices and as result erode patient confidence. Poor or negative health outcomes due to inappropriate use of medicines may also reduce confidence."

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