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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 662-

The international drug price indicator guide: An objective source of information about medicine prices

Pathiyil Ravi Shankar 
 Department of Pharmacology, Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba, Dutch Caribbean

Correspondence Address:
Pathiyil Ravi Shankar
Department of Pharmacology, Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba
Dutch Caribbean




How to cite this article:
Shankar PR. The international drug price indicator guide: An objective source of information about medicine prices .Indian J Pharmacol 2014;46:662-662


How to cite this URL:
Shankar PR. The international drug price indicator guide: An objective source of information about medicine prices . Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jan 17 ];46:662-662
Available from: http://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2014/46/6/662/144949


Full Text

Obtaining reliable unbiased information about medicine prices remains a challenge for healthcare practitioners and health science students in many countries. In developed nations, national formularies and the physician's desk reference provide valuable information about various medicines available in the country and their cost. In developing nations, commercial sources of information on medicines like the Current Index of Medical Specialties (CIMS) and the Monthly Index of Medical Specialties (MIMS) are among the most accessible sources of information on medicine prices.

A recent article had examined how transparency in the prices of medicines can be improved through price information mechanisms. [1] Increase in transparency of the prices of medicines can have both, positive and negative consequences. The International Drug Price Indicator Guide published by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) provides an objective source of information about the prices of medicines. The guide has been published by MSH since 1986 and from 2000 it has been published in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Medical students and doctors should be knowledgeable about the cost of medicines they prescribe to their patients so that they can make rational and cost-effective treatment decisions. Personal or P-drug selection is an important exercise for medical students, interns and residents and teaches them to use impartial, objective sources of medicine information to make prescribing decisions. [2] Students choose a P-drug for a disease based on four criteria of efficacy, safety, cost and suitability.

The International Drug Price Indicator Guide is a powerful resource for medical students and others to obtain information about prices of the medicines. It can also be used by medicine procurement agencies, and public health programs to procure and use medicines in a more cost-effective manner. The drug price guide is available for free at the electronic resources center of MSH. The guide can be downloaded in both, the PDF version and as a spreadsheet. Our students find the guide easy to use and it provides quick and reliable information. The section on how to use the guide, mentions medicines arranged in three lists in the guide. The first list shows medicines in alphabetical order arranged by generic name, the second list shows medicines arranged alphabetically within the WHO essential medicines list (WHO EML) (by therapeutic category) and the third list is a price comparison form. The section on how to analyze and compare prices is also useful.

The prices are provided in US dollars (USD) and the first list includes information about the package in which the medicine is available, the package price and the unit price of the medicine. The defined daily dose (DDD) and the anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC) code of the medicine are also provided. Information about the supplier and the buyer median price is also mentioned. The second list is of medicines arranged according to therapeutic category and mentions the number of suppliers and buyers for a medicine and again mentions the median prices and the DDD. This list will be especially useful for students to compare prices among related medicines during the process of P-drug selection. The third list mentions the median international supplier unit price in USD. The WHO EML therapeutic categories will be of interest to readers. The book also introduces readers to the WHO medicine price information page which is accessible at the website: http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/access/ecofin/en.

This book and the electronic site will be of interest to readers, medical educators, pharmacists, pharmacologists, procurement specialists and all those interested in promoting rational use of medicines.

References

1Hinsch M, Kaddar M, Schmitt S. Enhancing medicine price transparency through price information mechanisms. Global Health 2014;10:34.
2Shankar P. Seven years' experience of P-drug selection. Australas Med J 2011;4:201-4.