WHO Expert Committee on the Selection of Essential Drugs, 17-21 October 1977 - WHO Technical Report Series, No. 615 (1st WHO Model List of Essential Medicines )
(1977; 36 pages) [Arabic] [French] [Spanish]


The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines was first published in 1977 and is updated every two years...

In a report to the Twenty-eighth World Health Assembly in 1975, the Director-General reviewed the main drug problems facing the developing countries and outlined possible new drug policies. The Director-General also referred to the experience gained in some countries where schemes of basic or essential drugs had been implemented. Such schemes were intended to extend the accessibility of the most necessary drugs to those populations whose basic health needs could not be met by the existing supply system. The Director-General pointed out that the selection of these essential drugs would depend on the health needs and on the structure and development of health services of each country, and that lists of essential drugs should be drawn up locally, and periodically updated, with the advice of experts in public health, medicine, pharmacology, pharmacy and drug management. He also considered that adequate information on the properties, indications and use of the drugs listed should be provided. By resolution WHA28 .66, the Health Assembly requested the Director-General to implement the proposals contained in his report and, in particular, to advise Member States on the selection and procurement, at reasonable cost, of essential drugs of established quality corresponding to their national health needs. In October 1976, an informal consultation was convened in Geneva to advise the Director-General on the selection of essential drugs corresponding to health needs, keeping in mind the situation of developing countries where the main objective was to extend the primary health care coverage of the population. The report of this consultation was circulated for comments to the WHO Regional Offices, heath administrators, experts and nongovernmental organizations in official relations with WHO. The comments received were analysed and made available to assist the Expert Committee in its deliberations.
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