World Health Organization
 Collaborating Center on
 Pharmaceutical Policy

    Improving Access to and Use of Essential Medicines

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Medicines and Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Initiative



Glossary of Terms Used for Pharmaceuticals and Pharmaceutical Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries


WHO Database on Medicines Use in Developing and Transitional Countries

Dr. Dennis Ross-Degnan has been collaborating with Dr. Kathy Holloway of the WHO Department of Medicine Policy and Standards on developing a database of studies on use of essential medicines and effective interventions published between 1993 and 2006, as well as several studies summarizing lessons learned in that period. The WHO Medicines Use Database of nearly 800 articles shows that more than half of all drugs are used in an inappropriate way. Fewer than half of the studies were done in conjunction with interventions to promote rational use of medicines, and most of these were not nationwide but locally focused. In addition, the WHO database on pharmaceutical policy reveals that fewer than 50 percent of countries are implementing at the national level more than half of the policies recommended by WHO to encourage rational use of medicines. Much of the evidence was presented at the second International Conference for Improving the Use of Medicines (ICIUM 2004), which issued a major recommendation that countries institute national programs to promote rational use of medicines. ICIUM2004 participants further recommended that such programs be based on coordinated implementation of sustainable multifaceted interventions, scaled up to the national level and with built-in systems for monitoring medicines use in order to evaluate progress.

The WHO Medicines Use Database will be available soon on the WHO website.


Information from the Third International Conference for Improving Use of Medicines, ICIUM2011