Essential medicines and health products

New WHO report confirms world is running out of antibiotics

A new report launched on 19 September finds that very few antibiotics currently in development address the serious and growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis” shows that most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions. The report found very few potential treatment options for drug-resistant tuberculosis and 12 other classes of priority pathogens identified by WHO. Tuberculosis is responsible for about 250 000 deaths a year and some of the other pathogens, such as GRAM-negatives, can kill patients in just a few days due to the lack of treatment options.

Efforts to expand access to medicines in Africa must be intensified

A five year project to increase access to medicines in 15 African countries ends this month with some important achievements but also many challenges ahead. The EC/ACP/WHO Renewed Partnership project began in 2012 with EUR 10 million funding from the European Commission to build stronger pharmaceutical systems in 15 African countries. It brought about many improvements, such as greater availability of child-friendly medicines, particularly for HIV, TB and malaria, faster time to registration for some vital medicines, and some progress towards universal health coverage (i.e. coverage of health expenses for the whole community).

More than EUR 56 million raised to combat antibiotic resistance

WHO/TM

A number of countries and foundations today pledged EUR 56.5 million to help develop new treatments to fight against antibiotic resistance at a fundraising event for the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP). The meeting was hosted in Berlin by the German Federal Ministry of Health and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

GARDP was established in May 2016 as a non-profit research and development initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Funding will support GARDP’s four programme areas.

WHO Prequalifies key treatment for children with TB

WHO has just prequalified a two-pills-in-one paediatric medicine that is critical for the continuation phase of the six-month treatment required to cure tuberculosis (TB). The medicine – rifampicin 75mg + isoniazid 50mg – is a fixed dose combination (FDC) tablet manufactured by Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited. WHO medicines prequalification activities are partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and by Unitaid.

WHO prequalifies first generic hepatitis C medicine and first HIV self-test

WHO

In the lead-up to the Paris AIDS Conference and World Hepatitis Day, WHO has prequalified two priority products to tackle both HIV and hepatitis C. The first WHO-listed generic sofosbuvir could extend treatment for this major disease to many more patients. And the first WHO-prequalified HIV self-test will improve diagnosis in low-resourced health systems and in countries where stigma prevents people from getting tested.

Global public consultation on WHO prequalification of similar biotherapeutic products

In September this year WHO will launch a pilot project for prequalifying biosimilar medicines, a step towards making some of the most expensive treatments for cancer more widely available in low- and middle-income countries. To ensure clear understanding of the prequalification process for biosimilar products and guide manufacturers wishing to submit their products, WHO is seeking public comments on three key guidance documents.

WHO to develop Essential Diagnostics List

The 20th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines was published on 6 June this year, with a number of important new additions, including a recommendation by the Expert Committee on the Selection of Essential Medicines that WHO develop an Essential Diagnostics List (EDL). Based on that recommendation, WHO has begun to lay the ground for the preparation of the list, which will become an important contribution to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Efforts to expand access to medicines in Africa must be intensified

A five year project to increase access to medicines in 15 African countries ends this month with some important achievements but also many challenges ahead. The EC/ACP/WHO Renewed Partnership project began in 2012 with EUR 10 million funding from the European Commission to build stronger pharmaceutical systems in 15 African countries. It brought about many improvements, such as greater availability of child-friendly medicines, particularly for HIV, TB and malaria, faster time to registration for some vital medicines, and some progress towards universal health coverage (i.e. coverage of health expenses for the whole community).

fact buffet

Prequalification

1 185 health products prequalified, including 550 medicines, 67 in vitro diagnostics, 148 vaccines ...

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Priority assistive products

50technologies listed in new Assistive Products List to help older people and those living with disabilities achieve a better quality of life ...

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Partnership

3 600 health workers trained across Africa to strengthen pharmaceutical systems and improve access to quality medicines ...

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Meetings and events