Safe and rational use of these medicines is also a challenge. To deal with these demanding challenges means an increased need to strengthen pharmaceutical management, especially in the areas of second-line TB medicines management, new TB medicines, and novel treatment regimens.
To emphasize the critical nature of access to anti-TB medicines and their rational use in the treatment of M/XDR-TB, the USAID-funded Systems for Improve Access to Pharmaceutical Services (SIAPS) Program, the World Health Organization, and the Global Drug Facility jointly hosted the First Conference on Pharmaceutical Management for TB and M/XDR-TB for the WHO European Region, titled Fighting Drug-Resistant TB in the 21st Century: Novel Approaches to Improving Access to Anti-TB Medicines and Pharmaceutical Services. Representatives from 17 countries attended the conference, which took place in Antalya, Turkey, in December 2013. The objective of the conference was to review the MDR-TB component of the national TB strategies to identify specific priority action areas in pharmaceutical management to ensure universal access to quality-assured TB medicines and commodities and contain drug resistance. View the conference agenda and all country presentations on the conference webpage. Areas of pharmaceutical management that were covered during the conference were:
- Regional pharmaceutical management perspective on current strengths and challenges for TB diagnosis and treatment in the WHO European Region
- Impact of current and new TB diagnostic tools on strategies to ensure access to anti-TB medicines and pharmaceutical services
- Supply chain planning and performance monitoring—the potential for early warning indicators
- Formulating appropriate laws and regulations to improve standards of procurement
- Regional best-practices for accessing quality-assured first- and second-line TB medicines
- Harnessing the power of management information systems for planning and decision making
- Rational use of TB medicines at the point of prescribing, administration, and patient use
- Pharmacovigilance—managing adverse events for better patient health
The participants were national TB programs; pharmocovigilance, drug quality assurance, and procurement units from the ministries of health; donor agencies such as USAID and the Global Fund; regional and international partners working in TB; and principal recipients of the Global Fund grants.
Participants discussed and learned how to use modern technologies, frameworks, best practices, and new TB tools to improve access to anti-TB medicines and pharmaceutical services.
By the end of the conference, participating countries identified the main pharmaceutical management challenges hindering their achievement of TB targets. Participants developed country-specific action plans and identified tools and frameworks to address challenges. Results and recommendations for priority action areas from the conference will be widely disseminated through WHO, Stop TB partners, Euro region TB programs, key donors, and technical partners.