Previously published in Military Medicine, 176, 8:852, 2011
In this article, we provide an overview of key international guidelines governing the supply of pharmaceuticals during disasters and complex emergencies. We review the World Health Organization's guidelines on pharmaceutical supply chain management and highlight their relevance for military humanitarian assistance missions. Given the important role of pharmaceuticals in addressing population health needs during humanitarian emergencies, a good understanding of how pharmaceuticals are supplied at the local level in different countries can help military health personnel identify the most appropriate supply options. Familiarity with international guidelines involved in cross-border movement of pharmaceuticals can improve the ability of military personnel to communicate more effectively with other actors involved in humanitarian and development spheres. Enhancing the knowledge base available to military personnel in terms of existing supply models and funding procedures can improve the effectiveness of humanitarian military operations and invite policy changes necessary to establish more flexible acquisition and funding regulations.