Why the WHO’s Essential Medicines List 2019 matters to patient advocates
On 9th July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the updated Essential Medicines List (EML) 2019.
What is it?
It’s a guidance document from the WHO that helps countries prioritize critical health products that should be widely available, accessible and affordable throughout health systems based on evidence and health impact they provide.
It’s also a list that aims to guide countries on which medicines and diagnostic tools represent the best value for money as well as deliver sufficient therapeutic benefits again based on evidence and health impact.
These lists are intended to provide guidance to countries to develop their own national Essential Medicines Lists based on needs such as national disease burden and health system capabilities. This modification that suits current priorities and needs can then be used in their healthcare delivery strategies.
Why is the EML important for us patient advocates?
As patients advocating for the delivery of Patient-Centred Universal Health Coverage, it is critical that we ensure our respective health systems guarantee access to the right medicines, essential health products, including tests, vaccines, and medicines to ensure appropriate and effective treatment.
The importance of such lists is, is once they are drafted and included in health delivery packages, governments will prioritize, allocate a budget, and support their implementation. It’s a guarantee that patients will get consistent access to quality essential medicines and diagnostics that will be affordable and always available.