Selection of essential medicines
Careful selection of a limited range of essential medicines results in a higher quality of care for patients, better management and use of medicines and more cost-effective use of health resources. Clinical guidelines and lists of essential medicines may improve the availability and proper use of medicines within health care systems. Selection of medicines follows market approval of a pharmaceutical product which defines the availability of a medicine in a country. An essential medicines list may then be developed based on disease prevalence, evidence on efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness. National reimbursement/health insurance schemes may use the same approach. WHO is the secretariat for the Expert Committee on Selection and Use, the group of experts responsible for revising and updating the Model List of Essential Medicines.
Use of essential medicines
Proper use of essential medicines improves patient safety and limits unnecessary medical spending. WHO supports health-care professionals on the use of the medicines on the Model List of Essential Medicines by publishing the WHO Model Formulary. The Model Formulary provides information on use, dosage, adverse effects, contraindications, warnings and guidance on selecting the right medicine for a range of conditions.
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