Essential medicines and health products

Norway-WHO meeting boosts fight against antimicrobial resistance

An international meeting held in Oslo, Norway, on 13-14 November, focused on the responsible use of antibiotics and other anti-infection medicines to curb rising resistance in humans to these important public health tools. Participants from over 20 countries reasserted the shared responsibility of all countries and all sectors in fighting this silent but dangerous epidemic. The countries agreed on a series of strategies and interventions to promote better use of antimicrobials, including advocacy efforts and improving efficiencies within the health system. The meeting, organised by the Government of Norway, in collaboration with WHO/EMP, was part of the consultation process for the finalisation and endorsement WHO’ global plan of action on antimicrobial resistance.

Ebola vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics

Ebola specific prevention and treatment tools do not exist at the moment. In response to the severity and breadth of the current epidemic in West Africa, WHO has been spearheading efforts to galvanize the research and development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to curb the outbreak and ensure that these tools, if safe and effective, are also available for potential future outbreaks. To that end, WHO has convened the affected countries, donor and scientific communities, civil society and industry to gather the best evidence available and garner support for accelerated development and testing of the most promising tools. Two vaccines now being tested for safety could go into late phase trials in early 2015 and if results are positive they could be available to the affected populations by mid-next year.

First Diagnostic Test for Ebola Accepted by WHO

WHO has accepted the first Ebola in vitro diagnostic for procurement by United Nations and other partners to Ebola affected countries. The product, RealStar® Filovirus Screen RT-PCR Kit 1.0 manufactured by Altona Diagnostics GmbH, was assessed under an emergency quality assessment mechanism established by WHO to address the lack of Ebola tests, and to fast-track countries’ access to reliable testing options.

Opening remarks at the joint WHO, WIPO and WTO Technical Symposium

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny
Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, World Health Organization
Opening remarks at the joint WHO, WIPO and WTO Technical Symposium on Innovation and Access to Medical Technologies – Challenges and opportunities for Middle-Income Countries
Geneva, 5 November 2014, WTO CR Room



  • 3 October 2014

    Medicines: crucial drivers of public health and universal coverage

    A new report issued at the Health Systems Symposium in Cape Town builds a clear case for a strong focus on medicines as countries strive to achieve the goals of universal health coverage.

  • 8 October 2014

    EMP Thalidomide is back, are we ready for it?

    Following extensive consultations involving the UK’s Thalidomide Trust, WHO and the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, experts have identified key actions to develop standardised criteria for diagnosis of birth defects due to thalidomide. Their findings and recommendations are published in a report released today.

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