The National Drug Policy was first published in 1990 with the main goals of making available at all times and in all sectors of the health care system, adequate supplies of drugs which are effective, affordable, safe and of good quality. The policy also aimed at improving the quality of health care through the rational use of drugs.
After about 13 years, the policy appears to have made little impact on the pharmaceutical sector due largely to the absence of an implementation plan, budget and timelines. These would have paved the way for a systematic translation of the policy into tangible improvements in the sector. Absence of monitoring and evaluation may also have contributed to the poor results recorded.
However, the policy is in the process of being revised. Efforts are being made to improve on the formulation process and to include an implementation plan. Wide dissemination of the revised document is planned in order to enlist the support and commitment of stakeholders and to also ensure systematic implementation of the policy.
One of the strategies employed, to ensure successful implementation and sustainability of the revised policy, is to include aspects of the policy in the curriculum of pharmacy and medical schools. The capacity of trainers at both undergraduate and graduate levels also needs to be strengthened.
A national policy on traditional medicines has also been formulated as a separate document and awaits adoption.