WHO releases global reference guide on medicines

October 15, 2002

Brussels, 14 Oct 2002

In its efforts to promote the safe and cost-effective use of medicines, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released the 'WHO Model Formulary', the first ever publication to give comprehensive information on all 325 medicines contained in the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs.

Bad prescribing habits are very common in all countries, leading to ineffective and unsafe treatment, exacerbation or prolongation of illness and harm to the patient. Inappropriate treatment has an economic effect as well, increasing the costs to patients, insurance systems and governments. The problem is worse in developing countries where only two-thirds of the population have some form of access to essential medicines. According to WHO's Dr Hans Hogerzeil, "Unfortunately, developing countries do not always have unbiased information about medicines. The WHO Model Formulary aims to address that problem and provide a service based solely on scientific evidence."

Getting the word out

Recently updated to include 12 essential antiretroviral medicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, WHO's 'Model List of Essential Medicines' focuses on medicines that are well established and available from many sources. The new formulary is intended as a model for national governments and institutions, but may also be useful for individual prescribers, and is therefore available at reduced cost for developing countries. It will be available on the Internet at the following address below. A CD-ROM version is also in preparation.

Contact: hogerzeilh@who.int

http://www.who.int/medicines/

DG Research
http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/research/i ndex_en.html

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