Essential medicines as per World Health Organization

 

The American healthcare offers 24,000 medicines for the patients in this country.  According to the World Health Organization, only 350 or so are essential, and this is the number a majority of the world uses to provide health care for their citizens.  Why is there such an enormous disparity?  There are several reasons.  First, the uses of prescription or over-the-counter medicines are not a trend in the developing world.  Second, there are alternatives such as natural remedies available them that are not harvested yet by the American health care industry.  Third, there is a different lifestyle in the developing worlds that is not driven to produce to live.  This lifestyle is not to say that that they do not work hard, but they are more forgiving to customs of productions that drives the developed world.  Lastly, there are balanced approaches to healthcare that Americans are beginning to understand and appreciate.  These balanced approaches involve the mind-body-soul balance. 

The FDA’s report on the FY 2011 Innovative Drug Approvals states that there were 35 innovative drugs approved for the year 2011.  This report breaks down the types of medicines approved.  It is evident from the reports that of these approvals, approximately half were innovative therapies and half was modified available therapies.  American pharmaceuticals offer the state-of-art medicines for cancer, hepatitis C, lupus, heart attacks and strokes, MRSA infections, kidney transplant rejection, hereditary angioedema, clotting disorder, and scorpion stings. 

The world is a wrong place with no uniformity.  However, this does not mean that we cannot improve the advanced systems.  Coming from an American clinical medicine background, I can appreciate the offerings of the modern pharmaceutical world.  However, I found it daunting to understand the nuances of each available therapy and all the additional knowledge that is constantly produced in the U.S.A at times.  This information is invaluable but can be overburdening.  It is there I will review some to the essential medicines approved by the WHO.  Using the following links, I will summarize the types of drugs essential medicines recommended by the WHO.  The link for essential adult medicines is: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2011/a95053_eng.pdf.  The connection to essential medicinal products for Children is : http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2011/a95054_eng.pdf.

In American medicine there are 24 medical specialties.  I will go over some familiar to me.  There are over 90 anesthetics medicines available in the USA (http://www.drugs.com/condition/anesthesia.html).  The developing world has 13. 

The number of NSAID analgesics offered in the USA are 20 (verses 3 in the world) http://www.uptodate.com/contents/patient-information-nonsteroidal-antiinflammatory-drugs-nsaids-beyond-the-basics.    The numbers of opioid analgesics offered in the USA are 9 for severe pain and 15 for moderate to mild pain.  In contrast, the developing world has 2 (only morphine and codeine) for only severe pain.  Not only is there greater availability, but more considerable discretion of prescription in the developed world.  This leads to a higher number of poisonous deaths related to these agents (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db22.htm).

The point of this article is not to indicate a fault to the system that produces abundance but asks if we produce more types of medicines just to medicate our population versus to help them.    This matter is for American community to address.  It is not an easy discussion, but it must be had to improve our quality of life.

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