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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0864-3466On-line version ISSN 1561-3127


JIMENEZ HERRERA, Luis Guillermo. The National Drugs Policy in the context of Latin America. Rev Cubana Salud Pública [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.2, pp.398-421. ISSN 0864-3466.


A National Drugs Policy is a formal resource that allows ordering, prioritizing, planning, controlling and evaluating the most relevant aspects of the medicines cycle in a country.


To review documentation concerning the topic of National Drugs Policy in Latin America.

Data sources:

Documents available on the web referring to the topic.

Data synthesis:

A policy arises from a complex consultative process with the aim of achieving benefits for the population from the decision making based on scientific evidence, which requires that the various aspects related to the management of the policy should be updated to respond to the needs and changes that a society experiences. In Latin America, some countries have a national drugs policy; however, others only have lists of essential medicines.


There are positive experiences in Latin America in the construction of National Drugs Policies and opportunities for improvement in several countries. Despite the progress made in the construction and implementation of these policies, there are still people without access to medicines in some regions and it is necessary to include aspects related to traditional medicine, herbalists, phytopharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Scientific promotion and post-marketing studies of medicines should also be improved. In the particular case of Costa Rica, there is a long tradition of using an essential medicines policy in Social Security, but they lack of the consequent national policy.

Keywords : Policy; drug; essential medicines; health.

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