Essential medicines can save lives, reduce suffering and improve health. But to do so, they must be available and affordable, of good quality and properly used.
In many countries, this is not the case. Many people are unable to access essential medicines even when they are desperately needed.
At the same time, irrational use of medicines by health care providers and consumers can be dangerous, exposing individuals to harmful or ineffective medicines and wasting limited resources.
In countries with weak implementation of regulations and quality assurance systems, the distribution and sale of counterfeit and substandard medicines also remains a serious public health issue.
WHO works with Member States to develop, implement and monitor policies and programmes that ensure equitable access to safe, effective and affordable medicines. WHO’s work in this area is guided by the Regional Framework for Action on Access to Essential Medicines in the Western Pacific (2011-2016).
Areas of support:
- Advocacy. Advocacy on national medicine policy or its elements, international norms, standards and guidelines relating to the quality, safety and efficacy and use of medicinal products.
- Technical support. Support in relevant technical areas to member countries in need.
- Human resource development. Support for international and national training in relevant technical areas.
- Information exchange. Exchange of information and sharing of experience relating to national medicine policy and pharmaceuticals through various possible means, such as inter-country meetings, newsletters or electronic communication networks.
- Intercountry collaboration. Promoting sub-regional, inter-country collaboration in the pharmaceutical area.
- Monitoring of policy implementation. Promoting and supporting the monitoring of policy implementation and evaluating its impacts by using standardized methodologies.