Essential medicines and health products

WHO Drug Information

Volume 31, N° 4, 2017


The fourth issue for 2017 includes featured articles on the following topics:

Safety of medicines

  • Priming resource-limited countries for pharmacovigilance
    New medicines and vaccines are being developed for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, the lack of functional pharmacovigilance structures could become a barrier to their introduction. A new project proposes to establish end-to-end systems for smart safety surveillance “3-S” of medical products in LMICs, starting with selected priority medicines and vaccines that will be introduced in LMICs in the next few years.

Naming of medicines

  • Survey about International Nonproprietary Names (INN)
    WHO assigns International Nonproprietary Names (INN) to pharmaceutical substances. A recent survey among health sciences students and professionals showed that not all respondents were equally aware of what INN are and how they are constructed. The findings of the survey will support efforts to promote the use of INN in practice. It is also suggested that more knowledge about INN could enhance students’ understanding of the different classes and modes of action of medicines.

The Safety news section highlights information on adverse drug reactions and recommendations including labelling changes, as well as findings of non-compliance with good practices. The Regulatory news section gives an overview of developments at regulatory authorities, topics under discussion through public consultations, and approvals of products. This is followed by a section on Publications and events related to access, quality and use of medical products in WHO Member States.

The ATC/DDD classification section presents the temporary and final lists intended for the January 2019 and January 2018 versions of the ATC/DDD Index respectively. Comments or objections regarding the temporary list should be forwarded to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology before 1 February 2018.

The Consultation documents section presents a revised draft monograph on Pyrimethamine and a new draft monograph on Pyrimethamine tablets proposed for inclusion in The International Pharmacopoeia. These and other working documents are available for comment at:

Issue 4 concludes with List No. 118 of proposed International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances (INN).