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Development of user-friendly evidence summaries for the rational use of essential medicines and other complex drugs in the Americas

Date and Location




Friday 20 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Ivan Solà

Contact person

Ivan Solà
Abstract text
Background: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is promoting user-friendly summaries based on the best available evidence to inform policymakers on the use of essential medicines, drugs with high costs or under conditional approval by regulatory agencies. Objectives: To describe the methodology to develop evidence syntheses that integrates evidence on benefits and harms and aspects related to the use of resource use, to support policymaking. Methods: PAHO created the Regional Platform on Access and Innovation for Health Technologies (PRAIS) with the aim to improve access and rational use of essential medicines and other complex drugs. PAHO formulates specific clinical questions on relevant drugs for their use in the Americas. Each clinical question generates a search of a systematic review in the CDSR, DARE or PubMed. The review results on effectiveness and safety are summarised, classifying the quality of evidence according GRADE system. The summaries incorporate comments on economic studies retrieved from the NHS Economic Evaluation Database and a contextualisation about the applicability of the evidence. The evidence summaries are then included in the “Annotated medicines list” section of the PRAIS as a support tool to decision making. Results and Conclusions: We have developed 65 evidence summaries about antibacterial agents, antineoplastics and cytotoxics, antiprotozoal, antiparasitic, antivirals, antiretrovirals, antituberculosis medicines, contraceptives, and vaccines. These summarises are produced following a pragmatic and simplified methodology that provides technical support to policymakers in the decision making process. The integration of these summaries into PRAIS facilitates access to reliable knowledge and promotes rational use of drugs and governance of health technologies from a public health perspective. We plan to discuss how the Summary of Findings tables could ease the process of evidence synthesis by identifying patient important outcomes and the presentation of systematic reviews results.