How to Develop and Implement a National Drug Policy - WHO Policy Perspectives on Medicines, No. 006, January 2003
(2003; 6 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentWhat is a national drug policy?
View the documentObjectives of a national drug policy
View the documentThe essential medicine concept is central to a national drug policy
View the documentThe national drug policy process
Close this folderKey components of a national drug policy
View the documentSelection of essential medicines
View the documentAffordability
View the documentFinancing options
View the documentSupply systems
View the documentRegulation and quality assurance
View the documentRational use
View the documentResearch
View the documentHuman resources development
View the documentMonitoring and evaluation
View the documentKey documents

Selection of essential medicines

No public sector or health insurance system can afford to supply or reimburse all medicines that are available on the market. The selection of essential medicines helps setting priorities for all aspects of the pharmaceutical system. When linked to national clinical guidelines, it is a crucial step in ensuring access to essential medicines and in promoting rational use of medicines. Key policy issues are:

• adoption of the essential medicines concept to identify priorities for government involvement in the pharmaceutical sector;

• selection of essential medicines in a two-step process: (1) market approval; (2) selection of essential medicines relevant to the national morbidity pattern;

• defining the selection criteria (i.e. sound and adequate evidence, cost-effectiveness, etc.);

• defining the selection process (i.e. appointment of a standing committee, etc.);

• ensuring a selection mechanism for traditional and herbal medicines.


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