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Mapping the pharmaceutical situation in your country: First things first...

Author(s): Zaheer-Ud-din Babar | Shane Scahill

Journal: Southern Med Review
ISSN 1174-2704

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: pharmaceutical istuation | developing countries | medicines | pharmacy

Publishing the first edition of the Southern Med Review (SMR) was a milestone and the SMR is going from strength to strength. We gratefully appreciate the support we have received from Pharmacy World and Science (PWS) who invited us to write an editorial about the SMR. Most of all though, thanks goes to you, the contributors, readers and the members of the SMR Advisory Board for providing a steadily growing pile of papers and constructive feedback about the contents and future direction of The Journal. We have received papers about Central and South East Asia, the original focal area of the SMR. However, we are also very excited to have received submissions more latterly from Eastern Europe, the African continent and the Middle East. This widens the flavour of the SMR and allows the readership to understand and learn from those in other developing health systems. We have had contributions from researchers who are from developing countries and are currently residing in those countries. We have also received submissions from people whose origins are from developing countries but whom are studying in the ‘Western world’. Finally we have a number of researchers who originate from and who currently live in developed countries but whose passion for research lies with assisting the improvement of medicines use throughout the world. It is with this interesting mix of contribution and talent that we move forward with the SMR and develop the capacity to understand medicines policy research around the globe.That brings us to a key question we wish to address in this editorial: What areas should researchers from developing countries focus on in order to improve the health systems within their countries? All too often, researchers from developing countries (while studying in the developed world) attempt to answer questions which are more applicable to “highly developed pharmacy systems” and may in fact have little relevance within their own countries. Undertaking research using the framework adopted by those working in advanced pharmacy systems does expose individuals to research processes and techniques. However, researchers’ abilities in analyzing their own pharmacy situations remain unknown. We believe that areas of research should closely align with the country’s pharmaceutical problems. That could range from medicine pricing, generics, regulatory issues through to intellectual property rights and establishing basic pharmacy services such as pharmacovigilance programmes and drug information services. At Southern Med Review we value this type of work and examples such as “Pharmacy in United Arab Emirates”, “Community Pharmacy Practice in India “and “Pharmacovigilance in Nepal”, all portraying basic problems of “medicine regulation and use” are published in the current issue. This reinforces the concept that there is a need to strengthen the ‘basic’ pharmaceutical system before implementing advanced clinical pharmacy services in the developing world. In line with this discussion, we would like to gain the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), Health Action International (HAI) and other organisations with a vested interest in development research to support initiatives of this nature, where researchers are trying to map “base pharmaceutical services”.We have received a number of commentaries providing an understanding of “medicines and health systems”. Now we would also like to receive research papers which follow on from the issues outlined in these commentaries. As we move into the development of the next issue of the SMR, we are most happy to facilitate the dissemination of your valuable work. We hope that the SMR is of value to you and that it is making a difference to pharmaceutical policy research in the developing world. On that note, please keep those papers rolling in.
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