Drug Discussions at the 47th World Health Assembly. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 017 (1994)
(1994; 2 pages)


The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, met recently in Geneva to discuss current issues surrounding global public health. Pharmaceuticals were a major agenda item and debate focused on two major issues: progress in the implementation of WHO’s Revised Drug Strategy, and the WHO Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion.

The Director-General gave a report on the Revised Drug Strategy; Part I focused on regulatory issues, and Part II reviewed efforts to improve the rational use of drugs and access to essential drugs. The Assembly adopted four resolutions on the Revised Drug Strategy. One requested improvements and strengthening to the Action Programme on Essential Drugs, and one focused on safety, efficacy and standard of pharmaceuticals. Another approved the revision of the Good Manufacturing Practice, and the last urged Member States to further define and utilize the role of the pharmacist to implement national drug policy.

The Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion were adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1988, but the implementation of the Criteria has not been monitored. The 47th Assembly endorsed 19 recommendations in a resolution for future action that focuses on further implementation, monitoring and analysis of the Criteria. The Assembly also emphasized that patients, prescribers and pharmacists should have access to accurate information about drugs and the potential side effects. Member States were encouraged to develop national policies that work in accordance with the WHO Ethical Criteria to regulate drug promotion. The resolution also requested updates from Member States and the WHO regarding any progress or problems encountered during the implementation, monitoring and analysis of the Criteria.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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