Industry leaders and regulators from a number of Latin American countries gathered in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, October 22-23, for a conference hosted by the World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI), the Latin American Self-Medication Industry (ILAR), and the Colombian Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry. The theme of the conference was “I am responsible for my health.”
In his keynote address, Colombian Deputy Minister of Health Mr Carlos Cuervo noted Colombian law embodies the core principle from the 1978 Alma-Ata International Conference on Primary Health Care: “People have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their healthcare.” Mr Cuervo made positive comments concerning the Alma-Ata declaration’s philosophy of individual participation and empowerment. He also pointed to the challenges in Colombia and a number of other countries in the region regarding the widespread sale of medicines without a prescription and without labeling designed for consumer use.
Christopher Combe, Combe Inc. President and Dr David Webber, WSMI Director-General
WSMI Chairman at the opening session during the introductory panel - “Why Care for self-care?”
The role of responsible self-medication in self-care was then extensively discussed during three roundtables which were moderated by Dr Alberto Lifshitz, Director General of Coordination of the National Institutes of Health of Mexico. During his remarks, Dr David Webber, Director-General of WSMI, highlited that self-care and responsible self-medication are an important component of healthcare and that countries which fully encourage self-care can expect to have a healthier population and redeploy scarce resources to priority areas.