Private medicine retailers are often the first port of call when people need essential medicines and basic health care, especially in rural areas. However, these drug shops and retailers often operate outside the formal medical system in low- and middle-income countries, raising concerns about the quality of the products and services on offer. This poses a challenge for formal health care systems: should there be regulations and restrictions on these informal providers, or can they be engaged to improve the reach of health services? And if so, how?
A new special issue of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice showcases findings from seven research studies on drug shops across Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The studies were part of a multi-country implementation research programme developed by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research and the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) Network – both at WHO – with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Edited by Zubin Cyrus Shroff, Abdul Ghaffar, Geetanjali Lamba and Zaheer Babar.