Essential medicines and health products

Meeting of World Pharmacopoeias in China to benefit the world’s patients

A recent meeting of World Pharmacopoeias in Suzhou, China, attended by regional and national pharmacopoeias made progress towards the critical goal of setting globally unified principles for creating quality standards for pharmaceutical preparations and promoting greater collaboration between standard setting bodies of individual countries and regions.

China – growing potential to supply affordable quality medicines

The Chinese Food and Drug Authority (CFDA) and WHO have just signed a ‘cooperation plan’ at WHO headquarters. The plan sets out a comprehensive package of measures that China will undertake with WHO’s technical assistance, specifically to improve the quality of generic medicines, create a more science based and efficient review and approval system, reduce drug submission backlogs and promote transparency of operations.

WHO, EU, EMA agreement to improve quality and safety of medicines

With globalised markets and increasing cross-border trade, protecting patients from unsafe, substandard and dangerous medical products requires global action based on information sharing and collaboration between many actors involved in medicines oversight.

WHO tackles snake bites to spur production of antivenoms

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.

The existence of substandard, spurious, falsely labelled, falsified and counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products is an unacceptable risk to public health. They affect every region of the world, and medicines from all major therapeutic categories have been reported, including vaccines and diagnostics. They harm patients and undermine confidence in medical products, healthcare professionals and health systems. WHO is working with stakeholders to minimize the risks from SSFFC medical products by collecting data and transferring knowledge and good practices to countries.

Ebola specific prevention and treatment tools do not exist at the moment. In response to the severity and breadth of the current epidemic in West Africa, WHO has been spearheading efforts to galvanize the research and development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to curb the outbreak and ensure that these tools, if safe and effective, are also available for potential future outbreaks. To that end, WHO has convened the affected countries, donor and scientific communities, civil society and industry to gather the best evidence available and garner support for accelerated development and testing of the most promising tools.


  • 9 October 2015

    WHO, WIPO and WTO to reflect on lessons from
    20 years of TRIPS and public health

    WHO, WTO, WIPO trilateral symposium
    WTO, Centre William Rappard, rue de Lausanne 154, Geneva
    Room CR1
    28 October 2015 from 09h30 to 18h00

  • 9 October 2015

    WHO publication on trade and health now available

    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.

  • 2 September 2015

    Developing Global Norms for Sharing Data and Results during Public Health Emergencies

    In line with open access policies, the timely sharing of information on clinical, epidemiologic and genetic features of emerging infectious diseases as well as information on experimental diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, is critical for actions during a rapid public health response.

  • 1 September 2015

    Strengthening medicines regulation in Central Africa

    In some countries, there is a risk that substandard medicines will be registered by national regulatory authorities because of a lack of technical capacity and poor resourcing. It causes problems not just for the individual country, but for the surrounding region – porous borders mean substandard medicines originating in one poorly-regulated jurisdiction can enter another country if the regulatory system is not strong enough to detect it.