Medicines in trade Veselības projekti Latvijai

Medicines in trade

Difference between medicines and other consumer goods is that there are no clear criteria known to the medicine buying consumers, which could be used for assessing the product quality and expediency. The choice is generally delegated to other persons: government representatives who are responsible for quality control and health care workers who bear both collective and personal responsibility for the medicine benefit/risk assessment and selection. Although the consumers pay, whether directly or indirectly (via public or private health insurance organizations), they do not control the market.

In all countries - whether wealthy or poor - proper use of drugs depends on four "players": consumers (patients), health care professionals (especially physicians, nurses and pharmacists), official persons of the government and insurance groups and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry operates on the same principles as other branches manufacturing consumer goods. Its aim is to make products, sell the same as much as possible and gain profit for business expansion. Similarly to other industrial branches, the pharmaceutical industry must constantly adapt laws, which are determined by three factors: consumer opinion and conception trends, independence and accuracy of the health care workers and regulations issued by the state.

Due to intense competition, pharmaceutical companies advertise their products specially underlying their positive aspects and just mentioning in passing the negative ones and they do not disclose advantages of a competing firm's product. That is why dissemination of balanced and precise information plays the decisive role here.

Whether the mass media perform professionally their educational role? Whether comprehensive, accurate, comparative and independent information about drugs is available to the health care workers? Whether there are special structures in the country, which provide an opportunity of disseminating information on health issues, especially adverse drug effects, consumption level and researches conducted by the pharmaceutical industry? These are essential questions on the way to rational use of drugs.

When citing, reference to the Society Veselības projekti Latvijai is obligatory.