Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
MARQUES, Dirce Cruz and ZUCCHI, Paola. Pharmacy and therapeutics committees in Brazil: lagging behind international standards. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.19, n.1, pp. 58-63. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892006000100014.
The inadequate use of drugs leads to lack of therapeutic efficacy, adverse reactions, side effects, preventable drug interactions, increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and wasted resources. Changing this scenario is one of the most complex challenges facing health systems today. One approach used to rationalize the use of drugs lies in the creation of pharmacy and therapeutics committees, whose main role is to guide and assist health institutions at all levels in selecting drugs and monitoring their use, training professionals to use drugs rationally, and collecting systematized information to guide new strategies and actions. Brazil, unlike other parts of the world, does not make it compulsory to have pharmacy and therapeutics committees. Although committees for monitoring hospital infections are compulsory in that country, their action is restricted to hospitals and is not as broad as that proposed for pharmacy and therapeutics committees. Data from 2003 shows that among 250 public and private hospitals in Brazil, only 29 had pharmacy and therapeutics committees. It is essential that the need to make these committees compulsory at all levels of the Brazilian health system be discussed, and that the national Ministry of Health and other related agencies create the conditions necessary for the establishment of pharmacy and therapeutics committees, in accordance with other health policies currently in place.
Keywords : Drugs [essential]; drug utilization; pharmacy and therapeutics committee.