Selection of the best and safest medicine should be one of the national economic policies in a country for good health care services. Introduction of detailed module in rational use of medicine (RUM) to pharmacology syllabus needed prior analysis of the existing knowledge among health care workers. Therefore we assessed the knowledge and attitudes of essential drug list (EDL) on medical practitioners (MPs) and medical students (MSs). Forty two MPs and 120 MSs from hospital and Faculty of Medicine were given a pretested structured questionnaire related to core policies of EDL, contents, criteria for selection and time frame for revision in RUM. Our study showed that only 29% of MPs were confident about their knowledge in EDL and 17% of them had marked it as don’t know. Study was expanded for quantitative analysis of the knowledge on the core policies of EDL on them. Knowledge on contents, criteria for selection and the time frame for revision of EDL were 63%, 83% and 17% in MPs. Of MSs, 87% had sound knowledge in core contents, 32% in criteria for selection and only 50% of MSs were aware about the correct time frame of revision of EDL. Knowledge in contents of EDL was higher in MSs (87%) than MPs(63&). MPs were not aware about EDL preparing criteria such as inclusion of generic names, common ailment, majority ailments of the people (59%, 56% and 56% respectively). In contrast, MSs had > 93% of the knowledge in all three areas. However MSs had poorer knowledge (32%) in criteria for selection of EDL than MPs (83%). Knowledge in time frame for revision of EDL was 17% in MPs and 50% in MSs. We found that MPs in the service were not convinced about their knowledge in EDL. Deficiency was significant in the core contents of the EDL preparation. Therefore we suggest that MPs need repetitive in-service training programme for practicing of RUM in the national health facilities. We need to reiterative programme in the core curriculum regarding the criteria for EDL selection. Though MSs had good knowledge in content of EDL, they are poor in criteria for selection and time frame for revision
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