Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

35 Years of WHO List

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

35 Years of WHO List

Article excerpt

WHO has released the latest WHO Model List of Essential Medicines that countries use to develop national lists for adults and children.

It is based on the latest scientific evidence on the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of medicines and updated every two years. The first list was published in 1977.

"Essential medicines should be available in the context of functioning health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality and adequate information, and at a price the individual and the community can afford," said Dr Krisantha Weerasuriya, secretary of the Expert Committee on Selection and Use of Essential Medicines at WHO.

"The list is based on principles similar to those employed in health technology assessment, which many health-care services are using today to decide whether a policy, treatment or technology being recommended is cost-effective and should be covered by national health insurance schemes" he said.

Over the past 35 years the list has led to global acceptance of the concept of "essential medicines"--one that was introduced by WHO in the 1970s--as a powerful means to improve access to medicines and, more recently, to support countries moving towards universal coverage of health-care services. …

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