The proportion of population with access to affordable, essential drugs on a sustainable basis is the percentage of the population that has access to a minimum of 20 most essential drugs. Access is defined as having drugs continuously available and affordable at public or private health facilities or drug outlets that are within one hour’s walk of the population. Essential drugs are drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the Model List of Essential Drugs, which is regularly updated through widespread consultations with member states and other partners. Progress in access to essential medicines is thus the result of combined effort by governments, strategic partners such as United Nations agencies, public-private partnerships, non-government organizations and professional associations.
(WHO Expert Committee on Essential Drugs, November 1999.)
Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development.
Target 17. In co-operation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries.
Millions of people die prematurely or suffer unnecessarily each year from diseases or conditions for which effective medicines or vaccines exist. Essential drugs save lives and improve health, but their potential can only be realized if they are accessible, rationally used and of good quality.
Method of computation
WHO regularly monitors access to a minimum of 20 most essential drugs.
Data collection and source
The WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs periodically interviews experts in each country about the pharmaceutical situation, asking them to rate access by the population to essential drugs at less than 50 percent, 50–80 percent, 80–95 percent or more than 95 percent. (WHO Expert Committee on Essential Drugs, November 1999.)
Progress of WHO Member States in Developing National Drug Policies and in Revising Essential Drugs Lists, 1998, World Health Organization (WHO/DAP/98.7).
Model List of Essential Drugs, 1997, World Health Organization (www.who.int).
Periodicity of measurement
National data series are currently available for 1995 and 1997. Regional aggregates are currently available for 1987 and 1999.
International data comparisons
WHO produces country data series and regional aggregates.
Ministries of health.
World Health Organization.