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Annual Report 2002 - Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy: Supporting Countries to Close the Access Gap
(2003; 20 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentDeveloping a monitoring culture to improve impact
View the documentTraditional and complementary medicine: putting policy into action
View the documentKey country support in Africa and Eastern Mediterranean
View the documentWHO Collaborating Centres: supplying active support for medicines work
View the documentHow is TRIPS affecting access to medicines?
View the documentDevelopment of the essential drugs concept over the past 25 years
View the documentMeasuring access to antimalarials
View the documentStrengthening regional and national bulk procurement
View the documentLearning from successful supply systems
View the documentWorking out the cost of medicines
View the documentSupporting MDG target on access to essential medicines
View the documentCommon guideline for evaluating new medicines in Baltic countries
View the documentNGO toolkit for improving access to HIV/AIDS treatment
View the documentHarmonizing medicines regulation in the Americas
View the documentGood manufacturing practice in China: rapid progress
View the documentPharmacovigilance: detecting and reporting adverse drug reactions
View the documentVariations in prescribing information in 26 countries
View the document10th ICDRA: an international basis for medicines regulation
View the documentFighting poor-quality drugs
View the documentImproving medicines use in hospitals in Cambodia and Lao PDR
View the documentWHO-India Essential Drugs Programme: multiplying impact
View the documentOman: improving antibiotic use in primary health care

WHO Collaborating Centres: supplying active support for medicines work

More than 40 WHO Collaborating Centres (CCs) now work with WHO on medicines priorities. Three examples of CCs working with WHO on WHO Medicines Strategy objectives are based in Chicago, Tunis and Rio de Janeiro.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Regulation Direction de la Pharmacie et du Médicament, Tunis

WHO's collaboration with Tunisia's Direction de la Pharmacie et du Médicament (Pharmacy and Medicines Directorate - DPM) started in the early 1990s, when it helped DPM to improve its capacity to carry out medicines regulation activities, and to provide training and support to other countries. This included training DPM staff, providing reference books, and developing operating procedures and a comprehensive computer-based drug registration system. In 1995, DPM started to train regulatory officials from franco-phone African countries in technical and administrative measures for effective medicines regulation.

WHO Collaborating Centres provide valuable technical support in: policy, access and rational use of medicines; regulation, quality and safety of medicines; and traditional medicine

In 1998, the German Foundation for International Development joined forces with WHO and organized a training course on medicines registration in collaboration with DPM. External experts and DPM staff taught the course, attended by 17 participants, representing 13 countries. That same year, DPM became a WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Regulation. By the end of 2002, 23 drug regulation officers from 10 countries had received training from DPM in medicines registration.

DPM is now an established reference and technical support centre for countries that have adopted or intend to adopt WHO's model system for computer-assisted drug registration (SIAMED). DPM staff install the system, train users, undertake remote maintenance of the system and make follow-up visits. During the period 1996 to 2002, 12 African countries benefited from DPM assistance in installing and using SIAMED.

South-North-South interchange and collaboration

In 1999, the European Medicines Evaluation Agency decided to use DPM's computer system for medicines registration (developed in collaboration with WHO) as a model for developing its own computer system. EMEA's new system became available for wider distribution in 2002. Tunisia has itself adopted this new system, the end result of a rare instance of South-North-South interchange and collaboration.

Also in 2002, DPM pioneered a standardized evaluation method for assessing the safety and efficacy of new chemical entities in developing countries. It will be more broadly tested in 2003 and the subject of a training course.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

In 2002, the College of Pharmacy - designated a WHO CC for Traditional Medicine in 1981 - enhanced developing country research capacity in traditional medicine in two ways. It enrolled 22 graduate developing country students in its Pharmacognosy Graduate Program, and provided post-doctoral research training on medicinal plants for 15 developing country visiting scientists.

Data sourcing in traditional medicine: over half a million accessions to the NAPRALERT* database were made by developing countries in 2002


Number of accessions


115 795




12 699


146 172

South-East Asia

205 026

Western Pacific

21 620


* NAtural PRoducts ALERT database

The College of Pharmacy also improved information exchange on traditional medicine by providing information free of charge to scientists and non-profit organizations in developing countries through its NAPRALERT (NAtural PRoducts ALERT) database. NAPRALERT contains nearly 170 000 bibliographic records with information on over 140 000 natural products and over 160 000 organisms. This CC also made the final revisions to Volume 3 and initiated preparation of Volume 4 of the WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants. It also constructed a website capable of being hot-linked to WHO headquarters, WHO Regional Offices, and other CCs, to further facilitate information exchange.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policies
Nucleus of Pharmaceutical Assistance, National School of Public Health, Rio de Janeiro

Part of Brazil's National School of Public Health, the Nucleus for Pharmaceutical Assistance (NAF) has been a designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policies since 1988. Its mandate derives from the Brazilian National Drug Policy and the WHO Medicines Strategy. In partnership with all levels of government in Brazil, as well as nongovernmental organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and donors, NAF contributes to important national and international initiatives to improve access to health care.

In 2002, NAF activities included setting the pharmacological and clinical basis for medicines in Brazil, advising ANVISA (the drug regulatory authority) on generic medicines issues, seminars and educational activities, translation of WHO guidelines into Portuguese, research and evaluation. National elements of this work included evaluating hospital pharmacy and pharmaceutical services within primary health care, making a pharmacoeconomic assessment of drug selection, and assessing indicators for measuring access to essential medicines. Other activities had an international focus - such as examination, for Latin American and Caribbean countries, of financing for HIV/AIDS medicines, and the impact of patent protection and the TRIPS Agreement on access to medicines.


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