About health technologies and medicines

WHO/Europe supports countries in their development of policies and guidance for responsible selection and use of medicines and medical products. Work is performed throughout the WHO European Region, networking with countries and providing them direct technical assistance and support. The focus is on supporting Member States to improve access to quality, affordable essential medicines and their responsible use.

The activities and projects of the health technologies and medicines programme at WHO/Europe include regular meetings on pharmaceutical policies with health ministries and social health insurance authorities; and policy dialogues with partners including the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the European Commission, and professional and technical associations. Support is provided to countries on a number of subject matters.

Specific networks have also been created including:

  • a network on antimicrobial medicines consumption monitoring in non-European Union countries
  • the Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information (PPRI) network
  • a network for responsible prescribing and use of medicines.

BCAs support Member States

Biennial collaborative agreements (BCAs) with countries on health priorities are the basis for engagement in the newly independent states (NIS) (1) and south-eastern European (SEE) countries (2). BCAs cover technical support and capacity development with a specific focus on:

  • policies to guide development of the pharmaceutical/medical product sector, and the medical product assessment and selection process linked to essential medicines/medical product lists/reimbursement lists – to support optimal use of quality, generic medical products and management of introduction of premium-priced products;
  • support for the strengthening of medicines and medical product regulation;
  • support for the improvement of medicines supply systems; and
  • technical and communication assistance to improve the prescription and use of medicines, as well as monitoring and evaluation including medicines utilization studies.

In addition to BCAs, WHO has the country cooperation Strategy (CCS) for Member States outside NIS and SEE. CCS is a medium-term vision for technical cooperation between WHO and a given Member State, in support to the country's national health policy, strategy or plan. It is WHO's reference for country work, which guides planning, budgeting, resource allocation and partnership. Several CCSs are in preparation, and areas for collaboration include antimicrobial resistance and health technology assessment.

  1. The NIS countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
  2. The SEE countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.