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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

LEONG, T D et al. Essential medicine selection during the COVID-19 pandemic: Enabling access in uncharted territory. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2020, vol.110, n.11, pp.1077-1080. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/samj.2020.v110i11.15271.

The COVID-19 pandemic requires urgent decisions regarding treatment policy in the face of rapidly evolving evidence. In response, the South African Essential Medicines List Committee established a subcommittee to systematically review and appraise emerging evidence, within very short timelines, in order to inform the National Department of Health COVID-19 treatment guidelines. To date, the subcommittee has reviewed 14 potential treatments, and made recommendations based on local context, feasibility, resource requirements and equity. Here we describe the rapid review and evidence-to-decision process, using remdesivir and dexamethasone as examples. Our experience is that conducting rapid reviews is a practical and efficient way to address medicine policy questions under pandemic conditions.

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