Private-sector and philanthropic foundations

Because the private sector is an important player in the health sector, WHO/Europe engages with it in a limited way at both the regional and national levels. WHO’s work with commercial enterprises includes:

  • participation with one or more in alliances and other relationships (sometimes with other public bodies, governments, nongovernmental organizations and foundations) to address specific health issues;
  • exchange of information;
  • product research and development to improve health;
  • the generation of cash and in-kind donations to WHO; and
  • advocacy for health.

WHO carefully selects possible private-sector partners according to well-established internal mechanisms. Its activities affect the commercial sector in broader ways, through, for example, its public health guidance, recommendations on regulatory standards, or other work that may influence product costs, market demand or the profitability of specific goods and services.

Thus, in developing relationships with commercial enterprises, WHO’s values and reputation are paramount. Private-sector partners working with WHO must conform to its public health policies on food and chemical safety, the ethical promotion of drug products, tobacco control and other issues.