Course: Pharmaceuticals Management for Underserved Populations

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Course Description

Students will be guided to analyze problems and develop strategies based on real world drug management issues including regulations, manufacture, procurement, distribution, safety, policy, financing and the unique aspects of international pharmaceutical trade, the role of the World Trade Organization - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO-TRIPS), government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals/programs in the selection and use of pharmaceutical products. Course materials are drawn from both developed and developing countries so that the student will be knowledgeable about the role of Essential Medicines and the formation of a National Drug Policy. The course will use a multidisciplinary approach to provide students with an operational understanding of factors influencing access to and use of pharmaceuticals and other health commodities. Collectively, these materials and approaches are intended to stimulate critical thinking on how to improve access to and the use of pharmaceutical products.

Course Objectives

To develop an operational understanding of pharmaceuticals management in developing countries and underserved populations. The course will discuss factors, policies and regulations influencing drug availability and access, procurement, utilization, distribution, rational use, essential drugs, budgeting, inventory, and financing. The course will also discuss and describe the roll of government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual/program pharmaceuticals management.

Students will identify the different types of health commodities and their regulation, will understand key factors in the drug management cycle, will identify potential obstacles to and problems of access, as well as define creative solutions to these problems. Students will also understand the various factors influencing drug selection and the rational use of pharmaceuticals, and explain the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative ways to raise revenues to pay for pharmaceuticals.


Managing Drug Supply: The Selection, Procurement, Distribution, and Use of Pharmaceuticals. 2nd edition. Management Sciences for Health in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Kumarian Press. 1997. ISBN 1-56449-047-9.