Rapid Pharmaceutical Management Assessment: An Indicator-Based Approach



To conduct indicator-based assessments of a pharmaceutical system.


A step-by-step manual describes 46 indicators for function and activity within a pharmaceutical system. It shows how to collect data on the indicators and analyze them. The indicators are divided into 8 different categories as follows: policy, legislation and regulation; formulary/essential drug lists and drug information; Ministry of Health (MOH) pharmaceutical budget and finance; MOH pharmaceutical procurement; MOH pharmaceutical logistics; patient access and drug utilization; product quality assurance; and private sector pharmaceutical activity. The manual includes sample data forms, the formulas for deriving the indicators, and data collected from nine countries.

Developed by:

Management Sciences for Health, Center for Pharmaceutical Management (formerly known as the Drug Management Program) in 1995.

Intended Users:

Any organization needing to assess a pharmaceutical system. Can be used at the national or regional level.


Detailed assessments of pharmaceutical systems at the national level have been conducted in Guatemala (1992), Jamaica (1992), Mozambique (1993), El Salvador (1993), Ecuador (1992 and 1994), the Organication of Eastern Carribean States (OECS) (1993), Nepal (1993), Ghana (1993), and Nicaragua (1994). Modified versions of the indicators have been used for focussed assessments in Mexico (1995) and Cambodia (1995).


Can be modified to target specific aspects of a pharmaceutical system; provides a rapid means for conducting indicator-based assessments, for baseline or monitoring purposes.


The user must put the study results in context and write the report.

Recommendations for Users:

Train data collectors well and allow enough time for analyzing data and writing report. Use proper sampling techniques.

Reports and Publications:

Reports of the results of the indicator-based assessments in the above-mentioned countries available from MSH-CMP.


Data collection forms, guidelines, written procedures or protocols, manual/report in English, Spanish and Russian.