Concordance between essential medicines lists and diabetes guidelines in Latin America and the Caribbean

Urtasun et al.


Conduct an analysis to determine the existence and updating of national essential medicines lists (EMLs) and clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the treatment of diabetes in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); and compare the medicines included in each country's list and guidelines both with each other and with those of the World Health Organization (WHO).


Cross-sectional study. EMLs and CPGs for diabetes were found on the websites of the Pan American Health Organization and national health authorities. Medicines were noted and analyzed according to pharmacological group, based on the fourth level of nomenclature of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system. F1 scoring was used to assess the proximity of EMLs to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (MLEM).


Of the total number of countries, 87.2% have EMLs, and 91% have CPGs (78% and 45% updated in the last five years, respectively). Compared to the six hypoglycemic groups of the MLEM, the EMLs had a median (range) of 6 (4–13) and an F1 score of 0.80; This indicates proper alignment. CPGs had a median (range) of 12 (1–12) hypoglycemic drugs compared to eight in the WHO guidelines. CPGs had a median of 15 more drugs than their respective EMLs.


While most LAC countries have EMLs and CPGs for diabetes, the lack of concordance among them limits their effectiveness. It is necessary to align the processes and criteria for the development of these two tools for policymaking on medicines.

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