Inappropriate drug donations: what has happened since the 1999 WHO Guidelines?

DPJ van Dijk, GJ Dinant, JA Jacobs

    Research output: Contribution to journalA4: Article in journal not included in A1, A2 or A3peer-review


    Context: Drug donations to developing countries may be part of medical relief operations in acute emergencies, development aid in non-emergency situations, or a corporate donations programme. After a number of documented inappropriate drug donations, the World Health Organization developed the 'Guidelines for Drug Donations', with the second and final version published in 1999. Objectives: We reviewed the medical literature on drug donations since the Guidelines publication in 1999. Design: Literature was retrieved from PubMed and other on-line databases as well as from relevant websites providing medical literature for use in developing countries. We considered the following donations to be inappropriate: (i) essential drugs in excessive quantities; (ii) mixed unused drugs (unsorted medicines and free samples); and (iii) drug dumping (large quantities of useless medicines). Results: We retrieved 25 publications dated after 1999, including 20 and 5 from the scientific literature and 'grey' literature (technical reports, working papers), respectively. New information concerned emergencies in East Timor, Mozambique, El Salvador, Gujarat State (India), Aceh (Indonesia) and Sri Lanka. Except for East Timor and Gujarat, inappropriate donations still occurred, accounting for 85%, 37%, 70% and 80% of donations in Mozambique, El Salvador, Aceh and Sri Lanka, respectively. Very little information was found on drug donations in non-emergency situations. Conclusion: There are few recent reports on the compliance of drug donations with the World Health Organization guidelines. For emergency situations, there is still room for improvement. Drug donations in non-emergency situations need to be evaluated. A reform of drug donations policy is needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEducation for Health
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)462
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Global health
    • Humanitarian action
    • Emergency care
    • International collaboration
    • International initiatives
    • Drugs
    • Donors
    • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • WHO
    • Guidelines
    • Development aid
    • Drug supply
    • Counterfeit drugs
    • Review of the literature
    • East Timor
    • Indonesia
    • Asia-Southeast
    • India
    • Sri Lanka
    • Asia-South
    • El Salvador
    • America-Latin
    • Mozambique
    • Africa-Southern


    Dive into the research topics of 'Inappropriate drug donations: what has happened since the 1999 WHO Guidelines?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this