Essential medicines and health products

Minister of Health of Viet Nam signs Antimicrobial resistance pledge


The World Health Organization in Viet Nam (WHO) and the government of Viet Nam join hands to organize the first national Antibiotic Awareness Week, which will run on 16-22 November. Antimicrobial resistance in Viet Nam is affecting the health of the population and weakening the health care system. In 2013 Viet Nam became the first country in WHO’s Western Pacific Region to approve a national action plan to combat drug resistance. In observing the first Antibiotics Awareness Week Viet Nam is reiterating its commitment to combat Antibiotics resistance.

A possible boost for patient safety in South-East Asia region


India aims to become a watchdog for drug safety in the South East Asia Region, according to the country’s Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J. P. Nadda. The announcement came at the WHO annual meeting of national pharmacovigilance centres in New Delhi on 4-6 November.

WHO endorses NIBSC Ebola reagents


Ebola reference reagents produced by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) have been endorsed as the global standards for use in laboratory tests by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert Committee on Biological Standardisation and are now available to the scientific community. The Ebola antibody standard will be used around the world in the testing of Ebola vaccines in development, and is expected to help accelerate the availability of new vaccines for this devastating disease. WHO coordinated the international effort to obtain the samples that were made available for the NIBSC study.

Making medicine prices transparent in Peru

Television advertising was part of the communications campaign to raise awareness of the observatory

A website of up-to-date medicine prices in Peru is benefiting not just patients, but policy makers and the private sector.

The ‘Observatorio de Precios de Medicamentos’ (medicines price observatory) was the brain child of civil society, the pharmaceutical sector and government representatives involved in the Medicines Transparency Alliance.

Saving lives through the promotion of quality medicines - Invisible, but vital work


A great deal of WHO work goes on behind the scenes – it’s the part called ‘norms and standards setting’. While less visible, that work is crucial to much of our daily lives. For example, many of us take a number of medicines at least every month – they could be for just a headache or a cold, or sometimes for more serious, chronic conditions. When we do, we generally trust that the medicine will do us some good, even if we know that most medicines may have some side effects. We also trust that whichever company has produced it has followed the rules and respected good quality standards.

Take a closer look


In response to the current crisis in the supply of antivenoms, WHO has decided to open up a prequalification scheme for these products. The first call to manufacturers will go out on 1 December 2015.


Health and trade are strongly interconnected, with varying effects on public health. While trade can expand the availability of health products, intensified trade liberalisation - through bilateral free trade agreements - confronts national health authorities with increased movement of health personnel; medical tourism; higher levels of intellectual property protection impacting medicines’ prices; and harmful food products.