World Health Organization
 Collaborating Center on
 Pharmaceutical Policy

    Improving Access to and Use of Essential Medicines

  Contact Info  


Learn More About:

Medicines and Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Initiative



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


Policies and Programmes to Improve Use of Medicines: Recommendations from ICIUM 2004

As part of a global effort to improve the use of medicines, 472 leading policy makers, researchers, and other stakeholders representing 70 countries gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in April 2004 for the Second International Conference on Improving Use of Medicines (ICIUM 2004). Evidence presented made it clear that misuse of medicines continues to be widespread and has serious health and economic implications, especially in resource poor settings. However, effective solutions for some serious medicines problems already exist. Participants called upon governments to implement policies and programmes in the priority areas listed below. Key recommendations include: (1) Countries should implement national medicines programmes to improve medicines use; (2) Successful interventions should be scaled up to national level in a sustainable way; (3) Interventions should address medicines use in the community. Detailed recommendations are available at

The conference highlighted the need to move from small scale research projects to implementing large scale programmes that achieve public health impacts. Many promising and successful interventions were presented at ICIUM, yet global progress is confined primarily to demonstration projects. There are few reports of effective national efforts to improve the use of medicines on a large scale and in a sustainable manner. Thus a major research gap is to answer the question “How do we achieve large scale and sustained improvements within health systems?”


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