Essential Medicines for Universal Health Coverage. (The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines Policies)
(2016; 74 pages)

The Lancet:


The recognition of the importance of essential medicines is not new. At the 1985 Nairobi Conference on the Rational Use of Drugs, government representatives and other stakeholders proposed a comprehensive set of essential medicines policies. 30 years later, The Lancet’s Commission on Essential Medicines Policies convened to explore these questions: what progress has been achieved? What challenges remain to be addressed? Which lessons have been learned to inform future approaches? And how can essential medicines policies be harnessed to promote UHC and contribute to the global sustainable development agenda? This report addresses these questions, with the intent to reposition essential medicines policies on the global development agenda.

The Commission identified five areas that are crucial to essential medicines policies: paying for a basket of essential medicines, making essential medicines affordable, assuring the quality and safety of medicines, promoting quality use of medicines, and developing missing essential medicines. The Commission located essential medicines policies within the context of current global debates about balancing trade and intellectual property policies with human rights, assuring health security, strengthening people-centred health systems, and advancing access to essential technologies. In all policy areas, particular attention was paid to furthering equity in access, strengthening relevant institutions, and creating accountability. For each policy area, the Commission made actionable recommendations, thereby reaffirming essential medicines policies as a central pillar of the global health and development agenda.

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