Pharmaceutical systems strengthening (PSS) plays a pivotal role in achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by ensuring access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medical products and their appropriate use. PSS is particularly critical in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) where challenges with medical products and related pharmaceutical services play a decisively large role in determining health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened the need for PSS in LMICs as they grapple with the emergent demand for new vaccines and treatments, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, etc.
Tamara Hafner, Emmanuel Nfor, Francis Aboagye-Nyame, and Javier Guzman of MTaPS, in collaboration with members of MTaPS international PSS Technical Advisory Group, co-authored a timely commentary on the centrality of PSS to achieving global health goals. The commentary highlights the fact that many of the remaining challenges in improving access to and appropriate use of medicines and services require PSS. However, successfully incorporating PSS into global health programming requires the global health community to reckon with three 'uncomfortable truths'. The commentary titled “Integrating pharmaceutical systems strengthening in the current global health scenario: three ‘uncomfortable truths’” is published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice.
The PSS Technical Advisory Group aims to advance PSS on the global health agenda and comprises experts from academia, national ministries of health, international non-governmental organizations, and multinational agencies. The group of 11 members includes 4 technical experts from the USAID-funded Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program, whose core mission is to enable LMICs to strengthen their pharmaceutical systems.