Essential medicines and health products

Continuity and Change:

Implementing the Third WHO Medicines Strategy - 2008-2013

Continuity and change: WHO Medcines strategy 2008-2013

Publication details

Number of pages: 38
Publication date: 20 April 2010
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/EMP/2009.1


Continuity and Change – Implementing the third WHO Medicines Strategy 2008-2013, provides practical guidance to WHO and stakeholders on how the essential medicines concept and WHO’s expertise will be used to promote universal access and patient-centred health care for all. It presents priorities for action by WHO as a guide for future investment and planning decisions, and serves as a user-friendly document for stakeholders.

WHO’s work in the area of pharmaceuticals has existed for 60 years – as long as WHO itself. During this time many products and services have been created which are widely recognized as core functions of WHO. Countries, organizations, industry, health-care providers and patients rely on these core services. The strategic implementation plan also builds on achievements of the last decade such as the WHO/UN Prequalification of Medicines Programme, without which it would not have been possible to treat 4 million HIV/AIDS patients with safe and effective medicines, and the WHO/Health Action International (HAI) survey methodology, without which medicine prices, availability and affordability could not have been measured in over 50 countries as part of MDG monitoring.

The strategy also describes how WHO contributes towards the achievement of the health-related MDGs, the implementation of recent World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions, the WHO Medium-Term Strategic Plan for 2008-2013 and the priorities of the Director-General.