Essential medicines and health products

Socorro Escalante

Socorro Escalante

Socorro Escalante, MD, LL. B., MBAH.

She is the technical officer and medicines policy advisor at the WHO Country Office in Viet Nam. She has been working in the area of medicines policies and health systems for the past 20 years, half of this time spent on local health systems and local governance.

Dr Escalante's main areas of interest are on health legislation and in the development of policies focused on essential medicines, intervening in the areas of medicines prices, generic medicines, intellectual property and trade-related issues affecting access to medicines. Working for WHO, she has developed technical and policy briefs for high level decision makers and national legislative bodies and assisted in the development of regional and national strategies and medicines policies. She has worked extensively on medicines procurement and in the area of strategic management for hospitals and local health systems.

She joined the WHO Country Office in Viet Nam in 2009. She led the development of the framework for support for improving access to essential medicines in Viet Nam – a guide for action and collaboration between the government of Viet Nam, WHO and other international and development partners. In November 2010, the Aide Memoire for Strategic Collaboration on Improving Access to Essential Medicines in Vietnam was signed between WHO and the Ministry of Health (MOH). In addition to this, she played a substantial role in establishing the first ever WHO-UNIDO collaboration at the country level to support the government's policy on local pharmaceutical production, for which an Aide Memoire was also officially signed in November 2010. She also collaborates within the UN on may areas such as access to essential medicines for mothers and children and improving access to affordable generic antiretroviral (ARV's) lead by UNAIDS. Among the flagship programmes which the WCO Viet Nam has initiated include the establishment of the national safety network for the safety of medicines and pharmacovigilance, strengthening of the national quality control network, the Be Safe for Medicines Programme , interventions for improving rational use of medicines at the national and facility levels, financing and efficient utilization of medicines by the health system, medicines prices, generic medicines policies, development of the new National Medicine Policy (NMP) and Essential Medicines List (EML) and conduct of pharmaceutical assessments and surveys.

Presenters video at event


  • The New Generation of Essential Medicines: Vietnam…Now
    ppt, 711kb

    This PowerPoint highlights current issues of essential medicines in Vietnam, specifically the price and procurement of medicines. Additionally, it looks at challenges such as policy coherence, operational reforms, coordination and drug price control policies still need to be addressed.

Key documents of historical value: