Statement 6 June 2017

IFPMA Statement to New Essential Medicines List


Geneva, 6 June 2017|Today, the WHO issued its 20th Essential Medicines List (EML) This List serves as a guide for countries and procurement agencies in making their own decisions about the medicines in their own formularies.

IFPMA Director General Thomas Cueni gave this statement: “In this year’s List, and from what we can notably see, there is an important addition of medicines in the areas of antibiotics. We would like to reiterate that access to antibiotics is indeed a complex issue where challenges vary depending on geographic regions, healthcare settings, and the type of infections. We commend WHO’s efforts to put in place a more systematic and robust approach towards stewardship. Improving the appropriate use of antibiotics should not be limited to simply restricting access. We recommend a case-by-case approach taking into account local antibiotic resistance patterns and tailored towards national health system capabilities.” He added, “With the industry new alliance to drive and measure industry progress to curb antimicrobial resistance, our industry is committed to supporting national efforts around antimicrobial stewardship and enhancing global access to novel antibiotics while limiting inappropriate use.”

Listing a medicine or vaccine on EML does not alas guarantee that this treatment will be readily available to patients. Sustainable access to medicines and healthcare needs to be holistic, looking at both health and social care systems, identifying what works, what doesn’t, and taking a long-term and broad, comprehensive view to address the many hurdles countries still face today.

As an industry that actively contributes to improving global health, we are ready to play our part.


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

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Elliot Dunster