Essential medicines and health products

Development of the roadmap on access to medicines and vaccines 2019-2023


Access to safe, effective and quality medicines and vaccines for all is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving universal health coverage requires access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines. Access is a global concern in view of the: rising prices of new medicines that place increasing pressure on the ability of all health systems to provide full and affordable access to health care; persisting problems of shortages and stock outs of essential medicines, especially for noncommunicable diseases, and vaccines; and increasing numbers of substandard and falsified medical products that pose an unacceptable risk to public health. In addition, problems such as antimicrobial resistance and opioid misuse highlight the need to improve appropriate use of medicines.

In May 2018, the Seventy-First World Health Assembly considered a report by the Director-General on addressing the global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines. 1 The report focused on a list of priority options for actions to be considered by Member States and presented a comprehensive report by the Director-General on access to essential medicines and vaccines. The Health Assembly then adopted decision WHA71(8), in which it decided to request the Director-General to elaborate a road map, in consultation with Member States, outlining the programming of WHO’s work on access to medicines and vaccines for the period 2019-2023, including activities, actions and deliverables. The Health Assembly also requested the Director-General to submit the road map to the Seventy Second World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board at its 144th session.

Development of the roadmap

In response, the Secretariat has prepared a zero-draft document of the road map on access to medicines and vaccines 2019-2023. Based on the priority options for actions presented in the report submitted to the Health Assembly in May 2018, the draft road map outlines the actions and deliverables for the 10 strategic activities.

Consultation process

9 July-16 August 2018 9 July-16 August 2018 Contact details (including email address) for the focal point from the Ministry of Health should be sent to the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at to obtain access the survey for the online consultation. All comments received from Member States are available in the following document: Compilation of comments.

10-11 September 2018 at WHO Headquarters, Geneva. The meeting will open at 14:00 on Monday, 10 September 2018. Advance confirmation of delegations is requested by 2 August.

10 September 2018 at WHO Headquarters, Geneva from 9:00-12:00. Invitations to this meeting will be sent to entities that carry out work on access to medicines and vaccines, including partners and non-State actors in official relations with WHO and bodies of the UN system and related organizations. Participation to the meeting should be confirmed to the Secretariat by email no later than 7 August 2018.
Confirmed participants will receive further instructions on a how to register through the Indico system for the Informal Discussion (particularly important to obtain a badge to access WHO).

EB 144/17

After the formal and informal consultations with Member States, the roadmap on access to medicines and vaccines 2019-2023 was updated to include feedback received from the consultations. The updated version presented to the EB144 can be accessed at


Following discussion at the EB144 the roadmap was updated. The version to be presented at the WHA72 will be available shortly.

Roadmap for access 2019-2023

Comprehensive support for access to medicines and vaccines.

World Health Assembly (WHA) 72

The updated version of the Roadmap for access 2019‐2023 to be presented at the WHA72 will be available shortly.

Executive Board 144

The draft version of the Roadmap for access 2019‐2023 presented to the EB144

Zero draft

The zero draft Roadmap for access 2019‐2023 developed for the purposes of Member States Consultation (10-11 September 2018)