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August 18, 1999

Access to Essential Drugs in Poor Countries

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(7):630-631. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-7-jbk0818

To the Editor: Several important factors related to access to essential drugs in poor countries are described by Dr Pécoul and colleagues,1 but one of the most important factors is omitted. For the majority of the world's poor and most vulnerable citizens, there is no practitioner in their community trained in the prescription of essential drugs. There are indigenous practitioners in essentially all of these countries who are experienced clinicians but not formally trained in the allopathic system of medicine. They need to be trained in the use of essential drugs if these medications are to be truly accessible to the world's poor.

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