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close this bookPublic-private roles in the pharmaceutical sector: Implications for equitable access and rational drug use (WHO/DAP, 1997, 115 p.)
close this folder3. Essential state responsibilities
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document3.1 Policy-making
View the document3.2 Drug regulation
View the document3.3 Professional standards
View the document3.4 Access to essential drugs
View the document3.5 Rational drug use

3.5 Rational drug use

Free markets require full and accurate flow of information between buyers and sellers. Informational imbalance between drug producers and health care providers, and between health care providers and patients, is a major contributor to failure in the pharmaceutical market. Irrational use of drugs may stem both from lack of knowledge on the part of the providers and from the use of guile to mislead less informed consumers in order to increase profits.

Efforts to promote rational drug use aim to ensure that independent and unbiased information is available and that this information is actively used by prescribers, dispensers and patients. In addition, the state has a role in ensuring that professional ethics are not misplaced in the pursuit of profit. Measures for promoting rational drug use are described more fully in Section 6.5.