Unlike some other countries participating in MeTA, Jordan has a growing pharmaceutical industry that accounts for about a quarter of the value of the local pharmaceutical market and has a significant export potential.
Other aspects of the medicine supply chain, however, have a familiar ring:
- availability of essential medicines in public sector health facilities is poor according to a World Health Organization (WHO) / Health Action International (HAI) report, limiting access to low-cost medicines, and
- prices of medicines in private pharmacies are high and low-income groups cannot afford some treatments.
The WHO/HAI report said that, as for the whole Eastern Mediterranean region, the picture is of “reasonably efficient public sector procurement; unreliable availability of essential medicines in the public sector; people having to pay for their own medicines in the private sector, often at high and frequently unaffordable prices; and the need for stronger government action to introduce or improve national medicines policies and effective pricing policies.”
Jordan’s MeTA Council held its first meeting in August 2008, and identified a number of areas of work, which included revisiting existing studies and data on medicines and identifying gaps needing further study, building capacity to collect data, and increasing the capacity of civil society.
Other priority areas identified were finding better ways of monitoring the effectiveness of medicines using transparent measurement criteria, getting information to prescribers and patients on the quality of generics, and helping doctors improve their prescribing habits.
Speaking at a meeting of the MeTA International Advisory Group in London in September 2008, Dr Taher Abu El Samen, Secretary-General of Jordan’s High Health Council, said that some lessons had been learned already:
- better understanding of the policies and operations of all stakeholders had been achieved
- the existence of common issues on which all three sectors – public, private and civil society – could share information and collaborate.
He also emphasised that MeTA is a global alliance and that there is a need for “continuous communication and shared learning” between and across pilot countries as well as with the International Secretariat.
Two public MeTA Forums are planned for October 2009 and February 2010 that will widen the multi-stakeholder group.
MeTA stakeholders from seven countries strengthen relationships and build a network for learning
Over 70 MeTA stakeholders participated in a workshop in Jordan
Representatives from the seven national councils and secretariats met to share experiences and challenges from working MeTA and discuss key issues