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(2004; 2 pages) [French] [Spanish]
Essential medicines are medicines that meet priority health care needs.They are also medicines for which strong evidence of efficacy and safety exists, and which represent good value for money.They should be available at all times, in sufficient quantity, in appropriate dosage forms, and with adequate information for both prescribers and patients.They should also be of assured quality, and sold at a price that individuals and the community can afford.
The essential medicines concept was defined in 1975, and followed up, in 1977, with the First WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.The Model List has been updated regularly. It aims to guide countries in their efforts to draw up national essential medicines lists. Countries need their own lists because disease patterns, treatment facilities, levels of human and financial resources all vary.
So too do genetic, demographic and environmental factors. In other words, not all medicines selected for one country, will be essential in another country...