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IMPROVING THE QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SERVICES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A CASE STUDY IN SRI LANKA

Abstract

Pharmaceutical products and services are an integral part of medical treatment and their quality is of paramount importance. The quality of pharmaceutical services depends on the effective management of all pharmaceutical activities by professionals. The high numbers of deaths due to preventable medical errors indicates the lack of corporate responsibility by service providers. It is not known how and to what extent cultural issues and economic constraints affect the quality management systems of pharmaceuticals in developing countries. To study how the quality of service was affected by the operating environments in such countries, Sri Lanka was selected as a case study. A series of field studies conducted to assess the quality of pharmaceutical services in organizations representing two thirds of the population in Sri Lanka revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the system and the impact of social, political and cultural issues on the quality of services. Absence of a pharmaceutical regulatory body with statutory rights and lack of recognition of pharmacists and pharmaceutical services as an integral part of health care system is a major failure. The intervention results demonstrated that principles of ISO 9000 and Total Quality Management Systems can be adapted successfully to improve quality. The results also highlighted the difficulties which health providers have to face due to compartmentalization of health establishments. The outcome of this study raised the necessity of fundamental rethinking by the health providers, academics and pharmaceutical manufacturers, in order to provide and improve the quality of pharmaceutical services in sophisticated socioeconomic environments.

Keywords: Audit, Developing Countries, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Quality

 

For full Paper: fmscresearch@sjp.ac.lk


Author Biography

P.G. Gamage

Quality Management Consultant, United Kingdom