News Feature | April 22, 2014

WHO Launches Good Governance For Medicine (GGM) Programme In Pakistan

By Estel Grace Masangkay

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the global Good Governance for Medicine (GGM) Programme in Pakistan. The program will also be launched as a pilot project in other member states of the Eastern Mediterranean region.

As medicines make up one of the largest components of health expenditure, the program’s aim is to bring revolutionary reforms in the system that covers registration, manufacturing, distribution, supply, and commercialization of drugs. The initiative is the first of its kind in Pakistan.

The initiative will raise awareness on the impact of corruption in the pharmaceutical sector, with the goal of bringing the issue to the national health policy agenda. GGM aims to increase transparency and accountability in drug regulatory and supply management systems. In addition, the global program aims to promote integrity and institutionalize good governance in pharmaceutical systems in participating countries.

WHO uses a three-step approach in implementing GGM, which can be adapted to suit the specific participating country situation. For Pakistan, this includes the following phases:

Phase I – Measurement of transparency in the public pharmaceutical sector via the WHO standardized assessment instrument focusing on central functions of the pharmaceutical regulation and supply systems; Application of the assessment’s recommendations.

Phase II – Nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders to define basic components of the GGM Program; Components will include an ethical framework and code of conduct, sanctions, and a GGM implementing task force.

Phase III – Implementation of a national program of good governance for medicines and institutionalization; Systematic training of government officials and health professionals.

A total of 30 advisers are required to materialize the initiative in the country. Federal and all provincial governments in Pakistan have nominated two each advisers/assessors for the program, while four will be nominated by the private sector.

Fifteen countries from 22 member states of the Eastern Mediterranean region have been selected as areas to run GGM as a pilot project. These are Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Palestine, Tunis, and Yemen. The global program currently operates in 26 countries across WHO regions.

GGM is expected to materialize within three months. Both WHO experts and Pakistani nominated advisers will participate in the first session of the program to be held in Lahore, Pakistan.