WHO recommends that all countries formulate and implement a comprehensive national medicines policy as a means to improve access to safe, effective medicines of good quality. In this respect, WHO supports Member States to develop, implement and monitor national medicines policies and plans that aim to ensure that:
- appropriate medicines are reliably and consistently available in health facilities;
- medicines are prescribed and dispensed appropriately;
- medicines are affordable; and
- patients have the capacity to pay out-of-pocket payments, if any, and are protected against catastrophic expenditure.
WHO develops policy briefs on key medicines and health technology issues with the aim of assisting those who develop and implement policy, to better understand the issue and policy options available.
Every year WHO organizes a number of Technical Briefing Seminars with the aim of providing a technical update on a range of medicines and health product issues and programmatic approaches.
The WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products acts as the secretariat for the Interagency Pharmaceutical Coordination (IPC) group, an informal group of international agencies involved in the development and implementation of medicines and health products policies and programmes. The aim of the IPC group is to facilitate coordination amongst international agencies, partners and donors and to support information sharing and joint actions for better access to and use of quality assured, affordable medicines and health products.
Examples of National Medicines Policies
A collection of National Medicines Policies have been published in the WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal as a public sub-collection. Individual National Medicines Policies can also be found through the search engine of the Portal.
Medicines policy-related World Health Assembly resolutions and WHO Secretariat reports
- Addressing the global shortage of, and access to, medicines and vaccines A70/20
- Addressing the Global Shortage of Medicines and Vaccines WHA69.25
- Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance WHA68.7
Strengthening of palliative care as a component of integrated treatment throughout the life course A67/31
Access to essential medicines A67/30
- Health intervention and technology assessment in support of universal health coverage WHA67.23
- Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course WHA67.19
Health system strengthening: current trends and challenges A64/13
Health system strengthening: improving support to policy dialogue around national health policies, strategies and plans A64/12
- Strengthening national policy dialogue to build more robust health policies, strategies and plans WHA64.8
- Better medicines for children WHA60.20
- Progress in the rational use of medicines WHA60.16
- Ensuring accessibility of essential medicines WHA55.14
- Continuity and Change: Implementing the third WHO Medicines Strategy – 2008-2013
- Priority medicines for Europe and the world update report, 2013
- The World Medicines Situation
- The next generation of Essential Medicines
- The Essential Medicines Monitor
- WHO policy perspectives on medicines
- IMS Health Report