The World Medicines Situation 2011 - Selection of Essential Medicines
(2011; 20 pages)


1. Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health-care needs of the population. Essential medicines lists (EMLs) support the systematic delivery of medicines in the health-care system;

2. The selection process of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines has evolved since 1977 from expert evaluation to evidence-based selection that includes: systematic review of evidence of efficacy and safety; consideration of public health needs, availability and costs; and a transparent process;

3. The Model List and its supporting documents serve as a valuable resource for advocacy, selection, purchasing and supply at the country level;

4. In 2007, at least 134 countries had a national EML and the majority had been updated in the previous five years;

5. The Model List has been expanded to include the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines List for Children (EMLc), to address the priority health-care needs of children;

6. In the future, countries will face challenges in selecting high-cost medicines for oncology, orphan diseases and other conditions.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 1, 2019