Challenges facing drug utilization research in the Latin American region

Sales, Maribel and Lopes, Luciane C. and Godman, Brian and Truter, Ilse and Hartzema, Abraham G. and Wettermark, Bjorn and Fadare, Joseph and Burger, Johanita R. and Appenteng, Kwame and Donneyong, Macarius and Arias, Ariel and Ankrah, Daniel and Ogunleye, Olayinka O. and Lubbe, Martha and Horne, Laura and Bernet, Jorgelina and Gomez-Galicia, Diana L. and Estrada Garcia, Miriam del Carmen and Oluka, Margaret N. and Massele, Amos and Alesso, Luis and Comoglio, Raquel Herrera and da Cost Lima, Elisangela and Vilaseca, Carmen and Bergman, Ulf (2020) Challenges facing drug utilization research in the Latin American region. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. ISSN 1053-8569

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    Abstract

    Purpose: The International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) in collaboration with the Latin America Drug Utilization Research Group (LatAm DURG), the Medicines Utilization Research in Africa (MURIA) group, and the Uppsala Monitoring Center, is leading an initiative to understand challenges to drug utilization research (DUR) in the Latin American (LatAm) and African regions with the goal of communicating results and proposing solutions to these challenges in four scientific publications. The purpose of this first manuscript is to identify the main challenges associated with DUR in the LatAm region. Methods: Drug utilization (DU) researchers in the LatAm region voluntarily participated in multiple discussions, contributed with local data and reviewed successive drafts and the final manuscript. Additionally, we carried out a literature review to identify the most relevant publications related to DU studies from the LatAm region. Results: Multiple challenges were identified in the LatAm region for DUR including socioeconomic inequality, access to medical care, complexity of the healthcare system, limited investment in research and development, limited institutional and organization resources, language barriers, limited health education and literacy. Further, there is limited use of local DUR data by decision makers particularly in the identification of emerging health needs coming from social and demographic transitions. Conclusions: The LatAm region faces challenges to DUR which are inherent in the healthcare and political systems, and potential solutions should target changes to the system.