Essential medicines and health products

First EC/ACP/WHO Partnership on Pharmaceutical Policies

Key Principles

Girl taking medicine

Since its inception in 2004, the EC/ACP/WHO Partnership for Pharmaceutical Policies has operated according to the following principles:

  • Focus on country and regional priorities. The planning process follows a bottom-up approach, where ministries of health determine the priorities of partner countries and WHO supports the development and implementation of national plans to meet those needs.
  • Work sustainably. Our bottom-up approach is intended to expand national capacity, so that what we build through the partnership is sure to continue once the project is completed. Also, national medicines experts of ACP countries benefit from in-country training sessions and workshops, from inter-country technical collaboration, and from the use of WHO tools, manuals and guidelines; all of which will remain once the Partnership ends.
  • Promote regional and subregional collaboration. The Partnership seeks to strengthen existing collaborative arrangements (e.g. pooled procurement in the Caribbean) and catalyze the creation of new ones, which can work together to achieve pooled procurement, common policies and harmonization of legislation.
  • Emphasize a multi-stakeholder approach incorporating civil society. A multi-stakeholder approach lends greater credibility to Partnership outcomes by expanding access and voice throughout the impacted communities. Involving civil society from the start increases the efficacy of advocacy efforts, but also helps to create inclusive networks that will remain in the country after the project is finished. A multi-stakeholder approach has, for example, been instrumental to the success of the pricing surveys.
  • Integrate with other medicines policy projects. The Partnership is careful to avoid duplication of efforts through overlap with other activities of WHO and related partners. We work in close collaboration with initiatives that share the aim of improved access to medicines, like the Global Fund for Aids, TB and Malaria.
  • Document achievements and impact. WHO routinely evaluates the Partnership’s impact on the pharmaceutical sector of ACP countries. Besides this internal monitoring, we also work with external auditors as part of an ongoing program assessment.
  • Focus on added value.Even without the Partnership, WHO would still be providing support to ACP countries as part of its mandate. But working in formalized collaboration allows for better, faster and more sustainable outcomes through the application of lessons learned and the strengthening of capacity-building networks over time.
  • Develop global policies, guidelines and tools. A core goal of the Partnership is to leverage WHO’s unique expertise in developing tools that countries can use and benefit from over the long term. The partnership model means that we are expanding our knowledge base as well, which makes us better positioned to work towards the larger goal of improved access to essential medicines around the globe.