Challenges facing drug utilization research in the Latin American region

Maribel Salas*, Luciane C. Lopes, Brian Godman, Ilse Truter, Abraham G. Hartzema, Bjorn Wettermark, Joseph Fadare, Johanita R. Burger, Kwame Appenteng, Macarius Donneyong, Ariel Arias, Daniel Ankrah, Olayinka O. Ogunleye, Martha Lubbe, Laura Horne, Jorgelina Bernet, Diana L. Gómez-Galicia, Miriam del Carmen Garcia Estrada, Margaret N. Oluka, Amos MasseleLuis Alesso, Raquel Herrera Comoglio, Elisangela da Costa Lima, Carmen Vilaseca, Ulf Bergman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1363
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Latin America
  • drug utilization
  • drug utilization research
  • pharmacoepidemiology


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