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Country comparison of MeTA baseline pharmaceutical sector scan data. Birgit Kerstens 1 , Samia Saad 2 , Wilbert Bannenberg 1,2 1 Health Research for Action (HERA), Belgium; 2 Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Pilot, United Kingdom. Objective. To provide a cross-country comparative

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country comparison of meta baseline pharmaceutical sector scan data

Country comparison of MeTA baseline pharmaceutical sector scan data

Birgit Kerstens1, Samia Saad2, Wilbert Bannenberg1,2

1Health Research for Action (HERA), Belgium;

2Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Pilot, United Kingdom



To provide a



analysis of the baseline information

about the pharmaceutical sector

in each of the seven

MeTA pilot countries

design 1
Design (1)
  • The MeTA pilot countries collected and reported pharmaceutical sector data for more than 250 indicators
  • Criteria for selecting the most "representative" indicators per form were:
    • which indicator reflects the form topic the best ?
    • which indicator is the most relevant for transparency purposes?
    • which indicator is the easiest to collect for comparison purposes?
design 2
Design (2)
  • Cross-country analysis: 45 core ()and secondary indicators relating to
    • Medicine prices (1 + consumer & procurement prices)
    • Quality (13)
    • Availability (8)
    • Promotion (4)
    • Transparency and accountability (18)
design 3
Design (3)
  • A traffic light analysis was added to the multi-country comparative table to show the degree of availability and disclosure of the data:
    • Available and disclosed
    • Available but not disclosed
    • Not available at all
key findings on indicators 1
Key findings on indicators (1)
  • Ind. 11.10: List of registered products is publicly available, identifying originator brands, branded generics and generics
key findings on indicators 2
Key findings on indicators (2)
  • Ind. 23.7: Availability of basket of key medicines in health care facilities:
key findings on indicators 3
Key findings on indicators (3)
  • Ind. 18.3: Pharmaceutical companies are required to report promotion and advertising budget in taxes disclosures:
key findings on indicators 4
Key findings on indicators (4)
  • Ind. 25.1: Legal provisions exist to govern the licensing and prescribing practice of prescribers and health facilities:
key findings on indicators 5
Key findings on indicators (5)
  • Ind. 14.4: Regulations exist mandating that retail medicine price information should be publicly accessible:
key findings on indicators 6
Key findings on indicators (6)
  • Ind. 16.1-16.14: Consumer prices:
key findings on indicators 7
Key findings on indicators (7)
  • Ind. 21.1-21.14: Procurement prices:
challenges recommendations
Challenges & recommendations
  • Information gap: ensure that key pharmaceutical information is widely available and disseminated in the public domain
challenges recommendations1
Challenges & recommendations
  • Information gap: ensure that key pharmaceutical information is widely available and disseminated in the public domain
  • Comparison gap: ensure that data collection is compliant with instructions (e.g. consumer and procurement prices)
challenges recommendations2
Challenges & recommendations
  • Information gap: ensure that key pharmaceutical information is widely available and disseminated in the public domain
  • Comparison gap: ensure that data collection is compliant with instructions (e.g. consumer and procurement prices)
  • Disclosure gap: ensure that public data, regulations, lists are disclosed in a transparent and accessible way (through websites and other publishing platforms)

Individual country pharmaceutical sector scans and the cross-country analysis have been placed in the public domain:

ICIUM abstract: 967

country comparison of meta baseline data disclosure surveys


Samia Saad1, Birgit Kerstens2, Wilbert Bannenberg1,2

1Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Pilot, United Kingdom; 2HERA, Belgium


  • Provide snapshot and compare status of data disclosure of all seven MeTA pilot countries
  • Highlight common areas of transparency/disclosure and gaps in information.
methodology design

Cross country comparison of available disclosed information in core MeTA areas of quality, availability, price and promotion of medicines

List of 37 core indicators developed out of recommended 'key types of data to disclose', listed in instructions and guidance for conducting survey

Data extracted from qualitative information supplied within individual country survey reports into cross country table (EXCEL)

Traffic light analysis applied to cross-country table using where applicable

Green = available and disclosed Orange = available but restricted access Red = not available at all


Cross Country Comparison Table that captures practice on what data is actually disclosed at time surveys were conducted in a ‘Selected Indicators’table

Accompanying ‘Explanatory Notes’ table and a ‘Key Findings’table

key findings 1
Key Findings (1)


1.1 Market registration procedures and registration status of all medicines

Indicator 1. Process for registering and de-registering medicines

  • Pilot countries disclose clear guidelines for registering medicines on respective regulatory agency websites, underpinned by legislation disclosed.
  • Exception: Kyrgyzstan - registration requirements only available to private companies upon request from regulator.

1.4 Quality Assurance data during registration or procurement

Indicators 8. & 9.

  • Quality testing information available in most countries, but access restricted to drug regulators. No disclosure.
  • Exception: Peru's DIGEMID Health Control and Monitoring Division publishes list of products that failed quality control testing on its website.
key findings 2
Key Findings (2)
  • 2.4 Volume & value of medicines procured in the public and non-profit sectors
  • Indicator 21. Government budgets for pharmaceuticals for last fiscal year
  • Public sector budget information difficult to access. Exception: Jordan and Kyrgyzstan – budgets published on MoH and Ministry of Finance websites respectively.
  • Budget information from Peru, the Philippines and Zambia available but access restricted.
  • Lack of transparency because no laws mandating disclosure of budgets for health and pharmaceuticals – budgets distributed across different public sector institutions.
  • No data supplied in surveys of Ghana and Uganda.
key findings 3
Key Findings (3)


3.1 Consumer and ex-manufacture prices of medicines in the public, private, and non-profit sectors

Indicator 28. Private sector retail prices for list of key essential medicines

Only Jordan sets medicines retail prices and publishes information though searchable database (but not user friendly).

No information due to lack of systematic price monitoring in Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Zambia.

In Peru and Philippines, partial information available through recently implemented new legislation: Government Maximum Retail Price (Philippines) and recently launched Price Observatory (Peru).

All seven countries have median price ratios of a basket of 30 essential medicines through WHO/HAI surveys conducted within last seven years.

key findings 31
Key Findings (3)


3.3 Medicines price components in public, non-profit, & private sectors

Indicator 34. & 35. Data on price components (duties, taxes, mark-ups and other charges) for key essential medicines (domestically manufactured or imported)

Overall data not available. Only Ghana and Philippines data disclosed through WHO/HAI surveys (specifically included price component data).

Apart from Jordan, countries don’t regulate mark ups on medicines prices. Jordan publishes its regulations but not absolute value of mark ups for individual medicines.

Taxes: Majority of MeTA countries still impose taxes on medicines. Some medicines are tax exempt in Peru; Zambia waives taxes on essential medicines.

key findings 4
Key Findings (4)


4.1 Medicines promotion regulations, policies, and industry practices

Indicator 36. List of manufacturers and distributors that subscribe to internationally or nationally recognized codes of conduct

Information not available in any of the seven MeTA countries.

Indicator 37. Number and type of violations regarding promotional practices and how complaints were resolved

Information not available in any MeTA pilot countries, although all seven countries have guidelines on medicines promotion and regulation criteria for direct to consumer advertising, which is monitored by the regulator.

Monitoring and disclosing violations to ethical guidelines for promotion of medicines weak in all MeTA countries.

conclusions cross country comparison
Conclusions - Cross country Comparison


  • enables comparison of level of transparency of pharmaceutical sectors of seven diverse pilot countries
  • highlights similarities/differences and assesses where there is room for improvement of data disclosure.


  • Information not available (deficiency in health information management system)
  • Other key data not included in comparison - not addressed well in individual surveys (Explanatory Notes).

Non Disclosure


All the MeTA Baseline tools are available as part of the ‘Core Tools’ in the MeTAToolkit at

Individual Country Baseline Data Disclosure Survey Reports can be found and downloaded at

Country Comparison of MeTA Data Disclosure Survey can be found at