Essential medicines and health products


WHO provides global leadership to help expand universal access to medical products based on public health needs. Although 80% of the world’s population lives in developing countries, in 2010, only 2% of total health R&D was invested in research for diseases that disproportionately or exclusively affect the poor. As a consequence, there is no treatment for many diseases predominant in developing countries. The recent Ebola virus is just one among many examples. WHO works to promote research and development and equitable access by stimulating innovation for health products to treat diseases that predominantly affect the poor and by seeking innovative financing systems to fund such research.