WHO members tonight approved a resolution aimed at improving access to essential medicines. Agreement came after a compromise on a proposed provision referencing other medicines that are not qualified as essential medicines.

27 May 2014

The resolution includes a number of actions for governments to take on access to medicines, such as providing adequate resources for comprehensive national medicine policies, governance of pharmaceutical systems, and coordinate activities.

In committee today, there were a number of proposed amendments to the text. The key change was in provision OP1.2, on national policies. India proposed to add reference to “critical medicines,” so it would have stated:

“to improve national policies for selection of essential medicines, including critical medicines, particularly by using transparent, rigorous, evidence-based processes based on the methods of health technology assessment in selecting medicines for inclusion in the national essential medicines lists according to each country’s health needs and priorities.”

But the United States, Australia and Thailand opposed this proposal. Sources said what was underlying the debate was whether there could be recognition of other medicines not included on the WHO essential medicines list.

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