In 1991 the Cabinet of Tanzania approved the first National Drug Policy. The overall objective of this policy is
"to make available to all Tanzanians at all times the essential pharmaceutical products, which are of quality, proven effectiveness and acceptable safety, at a price that the individual and the community can afford, when these are needed to prevent, cure and reduce illness and suffering".
In addition to making pharmaceutical products available, the policy aims at rationalising the use of drugs through better information, prescribing and compliance. Rational use of drugs includes the availability of alternative methods of treatment, when the use of pharmaceutical products is unnecessary.
The National Drug Policy mentions Hospital Pharmaceutical and Supplies Committees as one of the instruments to achieve rational drug use:
"Hospital Pharmaceutical and Supplies Committees will be made operational in all hospitals in Tanzania. The Committees will be made responsible for the hospitals estimation of drug requirements, the drug budget, monitoring of standard treatment schedules and overall drug use, the provision of up-to-date information to prescribers and dispensers and other matters pertaining to the rational use of pharmaceutical products"
The National Drug Policy formed the basis for a comprehensive national plan for the procurement, storage, distribution and use of pharmaceutical products - the "Masterplan for the Pharmaceutical Sector 1992-2000" - developed in 1991 for Tanzania Mainland. This plan describes a wide variety of activities aiming at implementing the policy. As far as Hospital Pharmaceutical and Supplies Committees are concerned, the plan refers to these committees as "Hospital and other Therapeutic Committees", "Pharmaceutical and Supplies Committees", "Pharmaceutical Committees" and "Therapeutic Committees". For better understanding it is important to use uniform terminology: for hospitals they will be called from now on Hospital Therapeutic Committees