EB140/19 - Addressing the Global Shortage of Medicines and Vaccines. Report by the Secretariat. EB document; WHO Executive Board, 140th session, 2017
(2016; 3 pages) [Arabic] [Chinese] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]


In May 2016, the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA69.25, which was intended to address global shortages of medicines and vaccines. In the resolution, the Secretariat was requested "to develop technical definitions, as needed, for medicines and vaccines shortages and stock outs, taking due account of access and affordability in consultation with Member State experts in keeping with WHO-established processes, and to submit a report on the definitions to the Seventieth World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board".

WHO commissioned a systematic review of the available definitions used in the management of medicines and vaccines shortages and stock outs. The preliminary results revealed, among other things, that functional definitions vary broadly depending on the context in which they are used, underscoring the need to harmonize and develop well-understood definitions. The review also showed that terms are used interchangeably to refer to different aspects of shortages.

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