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Background: Although pharmacoeconomic studies constitute a valuable tool for better managing drug consumption, the conditions under which such studies would be performed in Latin American countries have not been explored.
Objectives: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the potential advantages of and pitfalls in doing pharmacoeconomic research in Latin America and to propose avenues to facilitate the development of this field in the region.
Methods: The Canadian guidelines for the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals served as a structured framework to assess, both prospectively and retrospectively, the conditions under which the pharmacoeconomic component of a clinical trial held in Mexico and Brazil would be and actually was conducted.
Results: The conditions under which pharmacoeconomic evaluations are conducted must be improved if studies are to contribute to the better management of scarce resources across the entire health care system.
Conclusions: The creation of a public funding agency, the reappraisal of administrative data as a management tool in both the public and the private sectors, and the establishment of national guidelines should be considered within the framework of reforms aimed at allowing healthcare systems to meet their objectives of efficiency and equity.