What are reproductive health (RH) essential medicines?

RH essential medicines, as identified on the Interagency list of essential medicines for reproductive health and the Interagency list of essential medical devices for reproductive health, are those that satisfy the priority reproductive health care needs of the population effectively, safely, and cost-effectively. They include contraceptives, medicines for prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS and medicines to ensure healthy pregnancy and delivery. These Interagency Lists are drawn from the WHO model list of essential medicines, and are intended to support decisions regarding the production, quality assurance, national procurement and reimbursement schemes of these medicines and devices.

The Interagency lists of essential RH medicines and devices are advocacy tools with two purposes:

  • To help countries decide what reproductive health medicines and devices to add to their own essential medicines lists.
  • To guide international bulk procurements, including decisions about what medicines, contraceptives and commodities to include in the WHO/UNFPA prequalification scheme for bulk procurement.