Guidelines for Medicine Donations - Revised 2010. (First Edition 1996, Second Edition 1999, Third Edition 2011)
(2011; 26 pages)


There are many different scenarios for medicine donations – such as emergency aid, long-term aid, or assistance to national health systems or to individual health facilities. Donations may come from pharmaceutical companies (directly or through private voluntary organizations), they may come in the form of aid from governments, or they may be donations aimed directly at single health-care facilities. The intended beneficiaries of donations of medicines range from individual facilities to entire health systems. Although there are legitimate differences between these scenarios, many basic rules for appropriate donation practice apply to them all. The Guidelines for medicine donations aim to describe this common core of good medicine donation practice.

The guidelines are intended to provide guidance that will achieve best donation practice by both donors and recipients, and to serve as a basis for preparing national or institutional donation guidelines. They are meant to be reviewed, adapted and implemented by governments and organizations dealing with medicine donations.

Changes in this 3rd edition of the guidelines are based on a review of experiences and comments received through a consultative process. Key principles that were kept in mind when preparing the 3rd edition were:

  • The guidelines should focus on protecting recipient countries from inappropriate donation practices.
  • The guidelines should enhance the responsibility and involvement of recipients in the full process of medicine donations.
  • The guidelines should emphasize the need for coordination in all phases of the donation process.
  • The guidelines should put additional emphasis on the desirability of countries to develop a national medicine donations policy and to adopt national donation guidelines.
  • The guidelines should provide guidance on appropriate donation practice for donors as well as for recipients.

This is an interagency document published by the WHO Department of Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies on behalf of the organizations listed.

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