Essential medicines and health products

Medicines Price Information

In response to the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA54.11, WHO is working with partners to make existing drug price information more widely available in order to improve equity in access to essential medicines in health systems and to provide support to Member States.

International Drug Price Indicator Guide

International Drug Price Indicator Guide", version 2003, on finished products of essential medicines: Includes around 450 active ingredients, in approx. 860 dosage forms from 19 different sources, and the ATC code for each product is listed. Issued annually (by Management Sciences for Health since 1986 and in collaboration with WHO since 2000), available as printed documents, including a CD-ROM version, standalone CD-ROM version, and on its web site, with Management Sciences for Health (MSH)/Strategies for Enhancing Access to Medicines (SEAM) Programme. It lists indicative prices of mainly generic products on the international market and tender prices obtained from nine national procurement agencies. 2. International price information services: Current pricing services managed jointly with UN and/or NGO partners Pharmaceutical starting materials/Essential Drugs Report on starting materials ("raw materials") of essential medicines: Includes 303 active ingredients (edition June 2004), issued monthly, available in printed copies only to paying subscribers who have access to the web site for approved customers and free copies to Regional Offices. Partners are International Trade Centre, a joint centre between WTO and UNCTAD. Subscribers from least developed countries receive copies free-of-charge. Subscribers from middle and high income countries pay fees. This joint project started in 1992.

AFRO Essential Medicines Price indicator

The third edition of the Essential Medicines Price Indicator published by WHO/AFRO in 2003 contains price information for nearly 300 essential medicines and dosage forms. Price information was provided by 18 Member States and 4 international low-cost essential drugs suppliers. It is produced by AFRO with the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Quality Assurance of Medicines, University of Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Available as a printed document and standalone CD-ROM (soon available), on its web site and can be obtained from AFRO/EDM in Brazzaville and from WHO/HQ.

Medicine Prices: a new approach to measurement

This is a joint Health Action International (HAI) – WHO project initiated at the WHO-NGO Round Table in 2000. This project has developed technical guidance for a standard approach to the measurement of the prices people pay for key medicines. Price information is collected at a sample set of pharmacies in public, private and one other sector which can be defined to fit local conditions (e.g. NGO agencies, religious missions or other charity services, or other types of not-for profit service providers). A manual and accompanying spreadsheet on CD-ROM are freely available in English, French and Spanish on the web sites of WHO and Health Action International.

The HAI web site also contains an open-access repository of data from studies undertaken so far, and a synthesis of results from the nine pilot studies.