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The rational use of medicine is an essential indicator that reflects the quality of health services. This means the medicine should be used appropriately with regard to its proven benefit, the lesser risk to the patient and the lowest cost to the individual and community. Unfortunately, medicines have been frequently used without indication, lack of supporting evidence for efficacy, unacceptable risks to the patients, duplicating and polypharmacy pattern of prescribing; all of which imposed unnecessary serious and life threatening adverse events to the patients along with a huge wastage of expenditure.
In 2002, The World Health Organization stated that "Worldwide more than 50% of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed, or sold inappropriately, while 50% of patients fail to take them correctly." Hence, irrational use of medicine is a problem of a considerable magnitude and has been occurring for years within all health professions in all settings either in the public or private sectors, with the tendency of the problem to aggravate, for example, the overuse of antibiotics that contributes to the global crisis of bacterial resistance.
The project is one of several mechanisms which aim to set the rational use of medicine in motion. It operates under the scheme of the 6 operational keys to success, namely (1) the strengthening of drugs and therapeutic committee, (2) the development of standardized labels, extended labels and patient information leaflets, (3) the implementation of the essential tools for rational use of medicines, (4) the establishment of the awareness of the rational drug use concepts for health professionals and patients, (5) the extra precautions uses of medicines in the special populations, and (6) the invigoration of ethics in prescription.
The project has been supported by several prominent health organizations such as the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, the Consortium of Thai Medical Schools, the University Hospital Network (UHOSNET), the Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI), the National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the Healthcare Accreditation Institute (Public Organization).
The system, mechanisms and tools of the project are the innovations designed to pave the pathway to rational use of medicine in a pragmatic and sustainable way, which purposefully should evolve to be the culture of all medical organization and become the social norm of society. The expected result of the project is the quality health services that enhance the quality of life for all the people with equality.
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