Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1726-4634
OSCANOA, Teodoro J.. Access and usability to medications: a proposal for an operational definition. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.29, n.1, pp. 119-126. ISSN 1726-4634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1726-46342012000100018.
Research about accessibility to medicines through household surveys is very important in order to verify the reality and effectiveness of interventions done to increase the access of the population to the medications. Unfortunately, such studies, on top of being very few, have methodological problems, which mostly result from a lack of uniformity in the operational definitions of access and the differentiation with the dimensions of accessibility. The aim of this paper is to propose setting a difference between both terms. We propose an operational definition of access to medications as the process of verification of the purchase of a drug by a patient, independently from many factors that can affect this process. The term "usability of drugs" is introduced, defining it operationally as aimed at measuring the dimensions of the accessibility to the medications: physical availability, affordability, geographical accessibility, acceptability (or satisfaction).
Keywords : Pharmaceutical trade; Drug utilization; Drug and narcotic control.