WHO Forum on Medicines

On 13 April 2019, the global forum on fair pricing and access to medicines , co-hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of South Africa was held in Johannesburg.

During this forum, delegates from governments, civil society organisations and the pharmaceutical industry discussed the potential strategies that could be developed to reduce medicine prices for patients. Participants:

  • Called for greater transparency around research and development (R&D) costs for medicine development to allow buyers to negotiate fairer prices;
  • Agreed on the possibility for countries to take an initial step towards fostering greater transparency, as done by those belonging to the Beneluxa network, by sharing their price information;
  • Highlighted successful collaborations among countries such as pooled procurement (i.e. aggregation of multiple buyers into one entity to negotiate reduced prices thanks to larger volume of purchases) and voluntary sharing of policies (e.g. Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies – PPRI);
  • Praised the WHO's database on vaccine markets and shortages (MI4A) as a useful tool to achieve competitive vaccine prices.

As expected, government delegates, civil society representatives and the industry had different views on the necessary level of transparency of medicines prices. In particular, some delegates noted that the lack of transparency on government-paid prices meant that many low- and middle-income countries were paying higher prices for some medicines than richer countries.

In the coming weeks, the WHO will launch an online public consultation to gather views and suggestions on what relevant stakeholders would define as “fair price”.


In 2017, a report commissioned by WHO showed that the cost of production of most medicines on WHO’s Essential Medicines List was a small fraction of the final price paid by governments, patients or insurance schemes. In line with the actions taken by WHO to fight against high medicines prices, the forum was organised as a global platform for discussion among different stakeholders with the aim to tackle the global issue of scarce medicines affordability, by delineating effective strategies to reach reduced prices and increased access.

Date: 06/05/2019 | Tag: | News: 946 of 1573
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