[Evaluation of rational prescribing and dispensing of medicines in Mali]

D Maiga, A Diawara, M D Maiga
Revue D'épidémiologie et de Santé Publique 2006, 54 (6): 497-505
Pharmaceutical policy in Mali is based on the concept of essential medicines and procurement of generic medicines. Unfortunately, increasing availability of generic medicines via different promotional programs can often be accompanied by their irrational use. This survey was thus designed to evaluate rational prescribing and dispensing of medicines in Mali. A cross-sectional survey was conducted from 1998 to 2005 in 30 primary health centers and 30 private dispensaries; in Bamako and in 6 of the 8 other regions of the country. In each of the visited facilities, 20 prescriptions dispensed at the time of the survey were collected. The average number of medicines per prescription was 3.2+/-1.3 and 2.8+/-1.2 respectively in the public and private sectors. Medicines were prescribed under generic name in 88.2% of the public sector prescriptions and in 30.9% of the private sector ones. Antibiotics were prescribed in 70.4% of the public sector prescriptions and in 50.0% of the private sector prescriptions. In the public sector 33.2% of the prescriptions had injections compared with 14.3% in the private sector (p<0.001). The median price per prescription was lower in the public sector (1575.0 CFA F, or 2.4 Euros, of which 91.3% were actually purchased by the patient) than in the private sector (5317.5 CFA F, or 8.1 Euros, of which 84.6% were purchased). Generic medicines are being used in the public sector but less frequently than in private practice. As therapeutic guidelines are already available, it would be useful to institute interactive information for practitioners through intensive visits by more experienced supervisors. The quality of the prescriptions could thus be optimized.

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