A drug policy based on health needs: Research in the Cuban National Pharmacoepidemiology Network

Julián Pérez Peña, Isis Yera, Lázaro Silva, Joan Ramon Laporte, Eduardo Diogène

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In 1996, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health set up a National Pharmacoepidemiology Network (NPN) involving 169 Main Municipal Pharmacies (MMP) located throughout the country. A family physician trained in pharmacoepidemiology has been running the MMP and the associated Municipal Committee on Drug Therapy and co-ordinating all tasks related to information, continuous education and research on drug therapy. In the meantime, pharmacoepidemiology specialists have developed similar roles in the country's 100 major hospitals. The NPN is co-ordinated by the Centre for the Development of Pharmacoepidemiology (CDP). The CDP develops research strategies based on the National Health System's priorities, the first of which is to design research projects in primary health care to be carried out in collaboration with different scientific institutes. Between 1998 and 2001, 20 national projects (use of drugs in the elderly, use of drugs for hypertension and asthma, characterisation of the clinical patterns of benzodiazepine users, and quality evaluation of prescriptions for different drugs) and 222 provincial or municipal projects have been carried out. In 2001, a system allowing for "rapid" research projects was set up in order to favour a quick decision making process with regard to selected health problems (clinical practice guidelines). A follow-up of 1,388 post-myocardial infarction patients from 20 hospitals throughout the country is currently being performed. Cuba's decision has been to develop a drug policy oriented towards health needs. Despite the country's financial problems and their impact on material and logistic aspects, the research policy is still based on the NHS's priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
JournalRicerca e Pratica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


  • Cuba
  • Health policy
  • Health priorities
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmacoepidemiology


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