Opening remarks of WHO by Dr Henk Bekedam Asia Pacific Conference on National Medicines Policies, Sydney, 26 May 2012


Opening remarks of WHO by Dr Henk Bekedam
Asia Pacific Conference on National Medicines Policies,
Sydney, 26 May 2012

Dr Suzanne Hill, chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) here in Australia, and representing the MinisterProfessor Andrew McLachlan, chair of the Australian National Medicine Policies, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon!

I thank the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, the University of Newcastle and the National Prescribing Service for organizing this Asia Pacific Conference on National Medicines Policies. The World Health Organization’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions are proud to be part of organizing this timely event in the beautiful city of Sydney, the harbour city of Australia.

The ultimate goal of a national medicines policy is to increase access to medicines. This fundamental principle guided development of national medicines policies over the last three decades and also brings us together here to look at progress since the first National Medicines Policies Conference held in Sydney, in 1995.

The world has changed since 1995, but access to medicines remains a critical challenge.

Recent years have seen a remarkable attention and focus on moving towards universal health coverage by many countries. WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan told the World Health Assembly in her acceptance speech this week: “Universal coverage is the hallmark of government’s commitment, its duty to take care of all its citizens.

National Medicines Policies are a critical help to move us closer to universal coverage. They help to ensure equitable access to medicines, and provide protection against the
harmful impact of out-of-pocket payments for medicines.

Hence, this second conference on National Medicines Policies now shines the spotlight on the implementation of National Medicines Policies.

Over the past two decades, many countries have moved in a remarkable way to adopt the essential medicine concept, develop and implement comprehensive medicines policies.

Despite the progress, we are still facing the reality that millions of people in the Asia Pacific suffer from diseases and early death because they still do not have access to effective, safe and good quality essential medicines.

This is unacceptable and can be prevented.

This conference will examine the current critical priorities for National Medicines Policies, the enablers and barriers to their implementation and the use of monitoring and evaluation frameworks to measure progress, amongst other objectives. It will be an outstanding forum for countries in the Asia Pacific to share experiences and evaluate the progress achieved since 1995.

This is particularly significant in face of the biggest health challenge globally and certainly in Asia – noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs. These diseases already account for 80% of deaths in WHO’s Western Pacific Region. But also result in millions of premature deaths, untold suffering and disability. This can be either preventable, treatable or the suffering can be relieved with low-cost, effective essential medicines.

While in some countries we have still challenges in the availability of such medicines, one of the main concerns is that even when these medicines are available that many people cannot afford to pay for these medicines. As with communicable diseases, the poor bear the heaviest economic burden from the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.

Please allow me to draw attention to patients living and dying with cancer. They have the fundamental right to do so with dignity. Sadly, in much of this region, especially in many of the low- and middle-income countries, there is limited access to opioids to relieve cancer pain, taking away the chance for millions of dying in peace and dignity. For this reason, I was happy to see that you put this critical topic on your agenda.

Returning on the issue of the cost of medicines – on one hand many individuals cannot afford to pay for medicines; on the other hand it is important to take into account that a lot of money is wasted in the area of medicines. The 2010 World Health Report on universal coverage found that 5 out of the 10 leading sources of inefficiencies are related to

Irrational and economically inefficient use of medicines by providers and consumers is widespread, jeopardizing the quality of care and wasting the limited resources for health. In many settings, the sale of medicines is often used as an inappropriate means for revenue generation and as a source for incentives for providers.

Even under the growing health insurance schemes, perverse incentives for prescribers continue to exist and often lead to more irrational use and escalating costs.
National medicines policies should aim at reducing these inefficiencies, such as the underutilization of low-cost generics, high prices, substandard and counterfeit medicines,
irrational use and pay particular attention to the way medicines are financed and reimbursed.

This point now also brings me to the issue of quality. Protecting the general public from the distribution of unsafe, substandard and fake products in our markets is the main responsibility of national regulatory agencies. Ensuring the quality and safety of medicines has become a complex task, and not even the richest countries can do this by themselves alone, anymore.

Collaborating to build strong national regulatory authorities and strong international regulatory networks will be key to ensure access to quality medicines and protect the public
from growing dangers of poorly manufactured, illegally distributed and potentially harmful

One of the impacts of poor-quality medicines is the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, as exemplified by the growing threat of artemisinin-resistant malaria, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and health-care associated infections. These are a serious public health risks to all nations as we are not only losing effective therapies, but also not having sufficient innovation to bring in new medicines.

Before closing I would like to highlight the importance of monitoring the progress of the implementation of national medicines policies and to define measurable indicators and
realistic targets. After all, we know that what is measured gets done. We need to know whether policies are delivering the desired outcomes and having the desired impacts. We need to learn from our mistakes as well as know where we are succeeding. I hope you are all ready to share your successes as well as your failures.

Only when we measure the progress and share our findings we will know where we are, where we are going and how best to get there. I am confident that this conference will reenergize this important agenda and bring practical ideas and new initiatives to countries to improve access to medicines.

So, I hope that the conference will not be an end to the discussions. But let us find ways to share information more regularly, to collaborate and to learn from each other more

For sure – let us meet again much sooner than the 17 years that have elapsed since the last conference on National Medicines Policies in 1995.

Thank you very much. I am very much looking forward hearing about the outcome of the

Much loved and respected WHO Western Pacific Pharmacy Leader announces retirement at National Medicines Policy Meeting

Much loved and respected WHO Western Pacific Pharmacy Leader announces retirement at National Medicines Policy Meeting

As the Asia Pacific National Medicines Policies conference drew to a close, the Conference Chairman announced that Dr Budiono Santoso would retire from WHO, the following day, and pursue his retirement as an author. It was an emotionally charged event as fellow staff members made presentations and members of the small island nations of the Pacific spoke of his support over many years, concluding with a typical island song of farewell. After a brief and emotional response, Budi, as he was better known to his regional friends, left the stage to a standing ovation.

Dr Santoso graduated as a medical doctor and clinical pharmacologist and graduating from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he was head of clinical pharmacology until 1999. He completed a further doctoral degree at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, in 1983. He was one of the founding members of the international network for rational use of drugs.

On behalf of WHO he co-ordinated collaborations in different areas of national medicines policies and initiated the project on promoting ethical practices and good governance in medicine in the Western Pacific region which program has now become a global WHO program.

Dr Santoso has strongly supported many international projects to improve pharmaceutical services in the Western Pacific region activated by WPPF. He was also a regular attendee with members of his staff at Executive meetings of the Forum, giving considerable advice and bringing us up to date with WHO activities and concerns within the region.

John Ware as President of the Forum and speaking on behalf of the Executive and member countries, wished Dr Santoso a long and fulfilling retirement and thanked him for the support and advice he had given the Forum and for his promotion of good pharmacy practices within the region.


Dr Budiono Santoso being farewelled by WHO regional office staff and his colleague from the South East Asian office (far right), Dr Kathleen Holloway.


Biribo Tekanene, Chief Pharmacist, Cook Islands, farewelling Dr Santoso, on behalf of the Pacific Island nations

p1020391Dr Budiono Santoso

Technicians symposium at the FIP Centennial


NEW – Technicians symposium at the FIP Centennial

FIP will gather pharmacists and pharmacy technicians at the FIP Centennial, bridging the gap within pharmacy workforce…


FIP Article on Adherence


Dear ,

Herewith you receive a ready to publish article from FIP on Adherence and the importance of this theme during the FIP Centennial. It will be one of the themes of the High LevelStakeholder Roundtables that FIP is organizing prior to theMinisters Summit that is organized with the Dutch Ministry of Health. Please click here to see the article and here to view the FIP Statement on adherence

Ministers of Health will gather to discuss the theme “The benefits of Responsible use of medicines – Setting policies for better and cost effective healthcare”. The Ministers Summit will start with a Hearing, presenting the conclusions from the FIP Roundtables to the Ministers of Health.

More information on the Ministers Summit (3 October) and the Stakeholders Roundtables (2 October) can be found here.

For more information or questions please contact Myriah Lesko

FIP Survey for Congress Participants


Dear first timer participant of the FIP Hyderabad Congress:

We would like to ask you to answer a short survey regarding the first-timers programme during the 2011 Hyderabad FIP Congress.

The inquiry consists of 22 questions. It will take approximately 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

This survey is completely anonymous and was created to help us enhance the programmes of future Congresses.

Please find the survey by clicking on the following link.

FIP News 23 May 2012


News from FIP

FIP representatives were in Geneva over the past week to hold a FIP Ex-Co Meeting and o-host the World Health Professions Alliance annual luncheon and attend the following WHO World Health Assembly.  FIP looks forward to releasing new developments of these meetings as they unfold.

Educating Pharmacists on Tuberculosis
In Hyderabad, FIP and WHO signed a joint statement on the role of pharmacists in TB control and care, under the understanding that this role should be based on competences of pharmacists. As such FIP would like to collect all the education developed by FIP member organisations on TB care, so that these educations could be inspirational for other MOs.
Such examples would be made available on the FIP website, in the members’ only part.
Please send to us a copy of the educational tools, such as:

  • Guidelines for pharmacists
  • Book/training programme developed by your organisation
  • Links to webinars and any other types of education

News from FIP Member Organisations
CFF in Brazil fights medicine sales in supermarkets
In relation to recent news concerning a provisional decree by the Brazilian Senate to allow supermarkets and other establishments to sell OTC medicines, the CFF (FIP Member Organisation in Brazil) lead by President Dr Walter Joao, mobilised healthcare professionals and public opinion against the proposed decree. The result had Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff voting against such action, marking an important political achievement for the CFF.

IPA forms partnership to fight TB
The Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) is pleased to announce a new official partnership between them and several other Indian institutions (including The Central TB Division Directorate of Health Services and the SEARPharm Forum, to name but two) to strengthen the involvement of pharmacists in the identification and referral of TB patients in India.

This is a monumental move for all parties and sets the state through improved care and control of TB via the work of pharmacists – congratulations to all!

Click here to read the full Memorandum of Understanding on the FIP website.

Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society works to accredit pharmacies
The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) is working with the Health Ministry to develop an accreditation guideline for pharmacies nationwide. MPS president Datuk Nancy Ho said the accreditation was to ensure no monopoly occurred over medicine and healthcare.

“It is hoped that all pharmacies will eventually be accredited to rule out a monopoly’ situation,” she said in an email to The Malay Mail.

Read the full story here

ASHP supports move for greater pharmacists involvement in patient care
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) applauds the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its change to the conditions of participation for hospitals and critical access hospitals that will allow these organizations to grant privileges to pharmacists.

Read the full story here

News from WHO
World No Tobacco Day fast approaching on 31 May
The World Health Organization (WHO) has selected “tobacco industry interference” as the theme of the next World No Tobacco Day, which will take place on Thursday, 31 May 2012.

The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) because of the serious danger they pose to public health.

Read more here 

News from Around the World
Global Leaders Commit to Addressing Illegal Online Medicine Sellers
The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) released the following statement from Libby Baney, J.D., a Vice President at FaegreBD Consulting and an advisor to ASOP. The comments concern a Declaration by the Leaders of the Group of Eight, made from Camp David on May, 19 2012.

Read the full story here

Report says prescribing should be reviewed by pharmacists
A GMC review found that one in 20 prescriptions from GPs contained a prescribing or monitoring error and one in 550 was associated with a serious error. Errors affected prescriptions for around one in six patients.

The review recommended that practices should conduct pharmacist-supported audits using prescribing safety indicators and correct any problems identified. The GMC said it would forward its recommendations to the DH, Care Quality Commission (CQC) and RCGP.

Read the full story here

FIP Congratulates
FIP would like to offer sincere congratulations to Dr J.A.S. Giri on his recent election as the new president of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) and to Dr Luis Guillermo Restrepo Vélez as President of the Colegio Nacional de Químicos Farmacéuticos de Colombia. FIP looks forward to working with them in their new positions.

FIP would also like to congratulate Dr Prafull Sheth on being the recent recipient of the IPA Ramanbhai Patel Foundation Life Time Achievement Award – best wishes for this most deserved honour!

Pharmacy Awards Night – Saturday 9th June 2012


Pharmacy Awards Night – Saturday 9th June 2012

The ProPharma-Pharmacy Today sponsored awards night preceeds our Auckland Symposia and is also being held at the Langham Hotel.  This is the 26th Annual Pharmacy Awards event and there are eleven categories on offer so NOW is the time to be preparing your entry. The highlight of the awards is the gala dinner awards ceremony,, where each finalist is recognised along with the winners and overall Supreme Winner.  The 2012 Pharmacy Awards will be held in the Great Room and will be hosted by media celebrity Mike McRoberts. Please visit for more information. Click here to veiw a summary.

PSNZ Regional Symposia Series – Mark your diary NOW!!


PSNZ Regional Symposia Series – Mark your diary NOW!!

For $100 including GST, come and join us at the upcoming Society Regional Symposia.  Clincial topics for these days will include; the Use of Antibiotics in Bacterial Infections, Parkinson’s Disease and pharmacist oncology specialists will present on adjunct cancer treatments. You will also hear from Bob Buckham on the use of social media and Professor Zubin Austin Professor in Pharmacy Practice from the University of Toronto.  Our venues are;

  • Christchurch, Sunday 27 May 2012 at the Copthorne Commodore Hotel, 449 Memorial Drive, Christchurch
  • Auckland, Sunday 10 June at the Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds Street, Auckland following the Pharmacy Awards Night.
  • Wellington, Sunday 24 June in the Civic Suite in the Wellington Townhall, Wakefield Street, Wellington.

Watch the members page for further detail – your brochure should be in your letterbox in early April.

Phone numbers for the venues that have associated accommodation as follows;

The Copthorne Commodore phone 03 358 8129.  The Langham Hotel is 09 379 5132.  If you are booking accommodation state that you are a PSNZ Symposia Delegate. Parking is freely available in Christchurch.  For more parking information for the Auckland venue please click here.

Please note – Non members are most welcome to register for Symposia but the cost to attend is $245 including GST.




Time:         12 Noon-to be confirmed

Date:          Sunday 10 June 2012

Venue:       The Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds Street, Auckland

Chair:         Elizabeth Plant, PSNZ President


1.  Welcome

2.  Confirmation of the Minutes of 2011 AGM held in Auckland 19 June.

3.  Presentation of the President’s Report

4.  Presentation of the Chief Executive Officer’s Report

5. Presentation of the Annual Report and the Audited Financial Statements

6. Presentation of Reviewed Rules – please see the Members home page for the new Rules document and the motion that relates to it.

7. General Business