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


Affordable prices are an important prerequisite for ensuring access to essential medicines in the public and private sectors. This issue is important because resistance to well-known antibiotics, which are widely available as generic products, is increasing. New essential medicines for the treatment of some infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/ AIDS, are often very costly. Key policy issues are:

• government commitment to ensuring access through increased affordability;

• for all medicines: removal or reduction of taxes and tariffs on essential medicines; control of distribution margins; pricing policy;

• for multi-source products (generic medicines and branded generics): promotion of competition through generic policies, generic substitution and good procurement practices;

• for single-source products: price negotiations, competition through price information and therapeutic substitution, and TRIPS-compliant measures such as compulsory licensing, “early workings” of patented medicines for generic manufacturers and parallel imports.


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