Cost-Containment Mechanisms for Essential Medicines, Including Antiretrovirals, in China - Health Economics and Drugs Series No. 013
(2003; 30 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentTerms of reference
Close this folderIntroduction
View the documentCost-effective medicine selection
View the documentPrice information
View the documentInternational open tendering
View the documentVoluntary discount agreements
View the documentVoluntary licensing
View the documentCompulsory licensing
View the documentLocal state production
View the documentGovernment price controls
View the documentReduction of import and other taxes for essential medicines, and rational dispensing practices
View the documentPublic investment in R & D for new medicines: A mid- to long-term strategy
View the documentBackground and experiences with voluntary agreements
View the documentCountry rights to be protected in voluntary agreements for reduction of prices of medicines
Open this folder and view contentsCompulsory licensing - practical aspects and procedures
View the documentConcluding comments
View the documentList of persons contacted
View the documentFurther reading

Price information

As a mechanism for cost-containment of medicines, information on prices of medicines is crucial. Transparent pricing information enables rational decision-making about medicines selection, from the national level to individual prescriptions, and is a vital element in making use of other cost-containment mechanisms. As indicated in the box hereafter, WHO offers numerous medicines price information resources, as well as a methodology for sampling prices and comparing local prices with international reference prices (draft manual and worksheet currently being finalized).

WHO medicines price information services1

1 Annual Report 2001 – Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy: Extending the Evidence Base (WHO/EDM/2002.1).

WHO works with several partners to make price information easily accessible to governments, nongovernmental organizations, donor agencies and any institution involved in medicines procurement. WHO medicines price information services are accessible at: <>.

Particular resources include: International Drug Price Indicator Guide: Details 252 active ingredients in 448 dosage forms. Indicative prices of generic products on the international market and selected tender prices. Produced by Management Sciences for Health and WHO.

Sources and Prices of Selected Drugs and Diagnostics for People Living With HIV/AIDS: Details 73 active ingredients in 110 dosage forms. Issued by UNICEF, UNAIDS, Médecins Sans Frontières and WHO. Covers antiretroviral (ARV) medicines, HIV/AIDS test kits for diagnosis and ongoing monitoring, and medicines for treating opportunistic infections, for pain relief, for use in palliative care, for the treatment of HIV/AIDS-related cancers, and for managing drug dependence.

Pharmaceutical Starting Materials/Essential Drugs Report: Details over 262 active ingredients. Issued by WHO and the International Trade Centre, a joint WTO-UNCTAD publication.

AFRO Essential Drugs Price Indicator: Nearly 300 essential medicines and dosage forms listed - details provided by 24 Member States and 2 international low-cost essential drugs suppliers. Published by the Regional Office for Africa and the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Quality Assurance of Medicines, University of Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Average Prices of a One Year Treatment with Antiretrovirals in Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: Survey by Pan American Health Organization of ARV therapy in Latin American countries.

Antiretrovirals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Details prices and uses of ARV treatments, and access policies for these medicines. Also covers prices by country and by groups of countries.

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The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 6, 2017