Essential medicines and health products

New WHO ‘School of INN’

1 October 2019 - WHO today launches the School of INN (International Non-proprietary Names). INNs are global names for medicines. They provide one reference generic name for each individual medicine that comes to market. Since 1953, the World Health Organization has named over 10 000 medicines.

The School of INN is an online platform where students of pharmacy and medicine, health professionals, scientists, drug regulators, industry, international organizations and civil society can follow short course modules and learn more about the science of drug nomenclature and what INNs do in practice.

WHO releases the 2019 AWaRe Classification Antibiotics

1 October 2019 – The 2019 WHO AWaRe Classification Database was developed on the recommendation of the WHO Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. It includes details of 180 antibiotics classified as Access, Watch or Reserve, their pharmacological classes, Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) codes and WHO Essential Medicines List status. It is intended to be used as an interactive tool for countries to better support antibiotic monitoring and optimal use.

WHO convenes global stakeholders to improve access to assistive technology

Woman with an above knee amputation stepping down from a bus using under arm crutches
WHO/Tebbutt, E.

On 22 and 23 August WHO held a global consultation on assistive technology to gauge global demand and supply, bottlenecks to access and ways to improve the availability of quality-assured, affordable assistive products for everyone who needs them.

Assistive products include hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, spectacles, artificial limbs, pill organizers, memory aids and other essential items that improve quality of life. Everyone will need an assistive product or more eventually, but people living with disability and ageing populations are the groups in greatest need

WHO issues new recommendation on antivenom for snakebites

After a comprehensive risk assessment, WHO has issued its first positive recommendation for the use of EchiTAbGTM, an Antivenom to treat snakebites of medical relevance in the northern part of Sub-Saharan Africa, namely the west and east African carpet viper. These snakes are present in about 20 countries in the northern part of Sub-Saharan Africa* and are known to cause the most cases of snakebite deaths in the world.

New Essential Medicines and Diagnostics Lists published today

Medicine dispensary at hospital
WHO China / Beijing Fotolink Technology Development Co., Ltd

Geneva,08 July 2019 – The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Essential Medicines List and List of Essential Diagnostics are core guidance documents that help countries prioritize critical health products that should be widely available and affordable throughout health systems.

Published today, the two lists focus on cancer and other global health challenges, with an emphasis on effective solutions, smart prioritization, and optimal access for patients.

WHO launches five-year plan to improve the quality and safety of health products

Delivering Quality-assured Medical Products for All 2019–2023
WHO/ T. Miranda

Today, WHO is releasing a five-year plan to improve the quality and safety of medicines in countries and globally. ‘Delivering Quality-assured Medical Products for All 2019–2023’ will be presented to donors and partners (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNITAID, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, GAVI and UNICEF), all of whom have contributed to the strategic objectives and supported WHO’s work on health products regulation over the years.

The 5-year plan responds to the need for global health partners to work together towards a common goal, adopting a universal health coverage approach to reach the sustainable development goals. It also strives for better use of donor money and aid-effectiveness by aligning milestones and activities among a number of organizations and, most importantly, identifying the best ways to achieve a safe and quality-assured supply of medicines, vaccines and other health products for all populations.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) of India to host the next 19th International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) in 2020

International Conferences of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) have been held biennially since 1980 with the aim of promoting exchange of information and collaborative approaches to issues of common concern related to regulation of medical products. As a platform established to develop international consensus, the ICDRA continues to be an important tool for WHO and national regulatory authorities in their efforts to harmonize regulation and improve the safety, efficacy and quality of medical products.

Monitoring the components of Access to Medicines

What gets measured gets done.
How do we know if a pharmaceutical system is working? How do we know why medicines are not where the patients need them?
WHO convenes experts to identify an “access dashboard” to provide policy-makers with a snapshot of how the national pharmaceutical system’s functions are broadly performing, and to signal areas where improvement is needed.

Apply for the English language WHO Technical Briefing Seminar (TBS) on Essential Medicines & Health Products Policies, 4-8 November 2019

The next English language WHO Technical Briefing Seminar on Essential Medicines & Health Products Policies will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 4-8 November. WHO has offered these seminars since 1988 to provide updates on global policy and technical developments and to create opportunities for exchange and networking among professionals working on access to medicines and health products in developing and transitional countries. The seminars are organized by the WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products.

Please apply between June 20 and August 31, 2019.

The WHO essential medicines and health products programme works to increase access to essential, high-quality, safe, effective and affordable medical products.