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E-DRUG: Drug Policy at the 51st World Health Assembly

E-drug: Drug Policy at the 51st World Health Assembly
---------------------------------------------

Dear Friends,

Next week, the World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva.
Drug policy issues will be high on the agenda. HAI has prepared
background material for the meeting which may be of interest to
members of the E-Drug list. Below you will find a copy of our press
release announcing our priorities for the week. If you would like to
receive the documents listed or discuss the issues raised, please
contact us.

With best wishes,

Lisa Hayes
------------------

Consumer Groups Call for Strong Policies on Medicinal Drugs
51st World Health Assembly (WHA), Geneva May 11-15, 1998

Members of the Health Action International (HAI) network* will
attend the upcoming World Health Assembly to represent the
interests of consumers of medicines and health services. HAI's
priorities at the Assembly will focus on access to reasonably
priced essential drugs and enforcement of controls on drug
promotion.

WHO has played a leadership role in encouraging the availability
of essential drugs and promoting better drug use. This role needs
to be maintained and strengthened. WHO's commitment to the
1986 Revised Drug Strategy, which was designed to ensure
equitable access to essential drugs and good treatment, cannot be
allowed to weaken. 

Although much needed drugs are often unavailable, an
overabundance of ineffective, overpriced and unnecessarily
hazardous drugs are marketed in many countries, especially
where regulation is weak. In addition, unethical drug promotion
continues to be a problem in both developing and developed
countries, leading to a waste of resources and unnecessary and
inappropriate drug use. In 1988, WHO published the Ethical
Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion, principles countries can use
to govern drug promotion. HAI urges WHO and national
governments to do more to implement effective controls based on
these criteria.

HAI has produced two background papers outlining consumer
drug policy priorities during the 51st WHA: Drug Policy at the 51st
World Health Assembly (available upon request in English,
French, Spanish and Russian) and Blurring the Boundaries: New
Trends in Drug Promotion (available in English). 
 --------------------------------
* HAI representatives from Brazil, France, Kenya, Latvia,
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand, Uganda and
the United States will be at the Assembly.

For more information, contact:
Lisa Hayes, HAI-Europe, Jacob van Lennepkade 334-T
1053 NJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel: (+31-20)683 3684
Fax: (+31-20)685 5002, E-mail: hai@hai.antenna.nl

May 9-16 (during the World Health Assembly) at: 
John Knox Centre, 27 Chemin des Crets de Pregny, CH-1218
Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland tel:(+41-22)788 0480, 
fax:(+41-22)791 0638 
 
Elizabeth Hayes
Health Action International Europe
Jacob van Lennepkade 334 T, 1053 NJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
tel: +31 20 6833684, fax: +31 20 6855002
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