Essential medicines and health products

Medicines policy


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.


Policy briefs

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

Related topics

Archived resources