Improving access to quality medicines in the Republic of Moldova
A policy dialogue on medicines was organized in Chisinau on 20–21 September 2012 with WHO support. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Health and brought together about 70 representatives of the Ministry, National Medicines Agency, National Health Insurance Company, Medical and Pharmaceutical University, professional associations, health care providers of different levels, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations and independent local and external experts.
Dr Andrei Usatii, Minister of Health welcomed participants and stated in his opening speech: "Medicines policies are given currently top priority in the health reforms agenda. Better regulation of the pharmaceutical market will result in increased availability of good quality, effective and safe medicines, at acceptable prices and in accordance with the population's needs". Dr Usatii also expressed his gratitude to WHO for support in the process of evaluating the pharmaceutical sector in the country and putting an institutional framework in place that will serve as a basis for future policies in this area.
"The policy dialogue is a good opportunity to discuss the situation in the pharmaceutical sector of the country and to identify priorities for future actions," said Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in the Republic of Moldova and added: "Improvements in access to medicines should aim to have a positive impact on the overall efficiency of the health system, extend the availability of primary care services and decrease the inequities in access."
The primary objective of the policy dialogue was to present and discuss the main findings of missions, analysis and studies supported by the WHO medicines team and London School of Economics in the period 2011–2012, focusing on availability and affordability of medicines, national procurement mechanisms, price regulation, prescription policies and rational use, as well as to familiarize the audience with best practices at global and regional level.
Nina Sautenkova from WHO/Europe, Dr Panos Kanavos from the London School of Economics and Professors Safta and Zinaida Bezverkhny from the Medical University of Chisinau presented main findings and recommendations of the policy analysis.
The event represents an important milestone in the overall assistance provided by WHO in the reform of the pharmaceutical sector in the country. WHO contributed to the event by bringing top external expertise to the country level as well through external reviews and by providing direct financial and logistical support. The policy dialogue was part of the biennial collaborative agreement (BCA) 2012-2013 between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and WHO/Europe. It was furthermore related to a WHO and European Union initiative entitled "Supporting policy dialogue on national health policies, strategies and plans in selected countries".