Access to essential medicines is among the key conditions necessary to improve health. Access depends on four factors: rational selection, affordable prices, sustainable financing and reliable health systems. These are best secured through development and implementation of a national drug policy and an essential drugs programme. Medicine donations and price discounts, when clearly justified, carefully planned and properly managed, can be applied as additional policy instruments to improve access.
The guidelines aim to maximize the benefit to recipients of price discounts for single-source pharmaceutical products. They can help to prevent misunderstandings and delays, and promote the integration of such discounts within long-term programmes to improve access to essential drugs for priority diseases. The guidelines are not international regulations but are intended as a checklist of important issues to consider when planning, executing, supporting or evaluating a programme of price discounts of single-source pharmaceuticals in the public and/or private sectors.
The document is intended for policy-makers and technical staff in international and bilateral agencies active in international health development support, for pharmaceutical companies, and for governments and nongovernmental organizations in recipient countries.
This is an interagency consensus document published by the WHO Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy on behalf of the organizations listed.