Essential Medicines and Biologicals Programme

The Essential Medicines and Biologicals team provides technical cooperation to the countries of the Hemisphere to ensure access to essential medicines and biologicals as part of the guarantee of the right to health for all.

To this end it proposes the development and implementation of pharmaceutical policies as part of health policy, focusing on the primary determinants of access: selection, prices, financing, and the organization of the supply system. It must also guarantee the quality of the medicines and their appropriate use by health professionals and the population.

Strategic Approaches

Providing advocacy and support to governments in the development, implementation and monitoring of national policies that facilitate access to, and affordability of, medicines and biologicals.

Implementing tools for improving cost-efficient medicine supply systems with emphasis in the public health services and targeted population groups through AHO’s Strategic Fund.

Applying evidence-based international norms and standards, developed through rigorous, transparent, inclusive and authoritative process.

Promoting a public health approach to innovation and intellectual property rights issues, and adapting interventions that have proved successful.



To achieve universal access AHO must formulate and implement coherent Pharmaceutical Policies, integrated within National Health Policy, and linked with other related polices including science technology and industrial development.

Access to essential medicines and biologicals is ensured through the development of an organized system that integrates the selection, financing, procurement and distribution of pharmaceuticals in accordance with the needs of the population


Pharmaceutical policies

A national pharmaceutical policy is a commitment to a goal and a guide for action. It expresses and prioritizes the medium- to long-term goals set by the government for the pharmaceutical sector, and identifies the main strategies for attaining them. It provides a framework within which the activities of the pharmaceutical sector can be coordinated. It covers both the public and the private sectors, and involves all the main actors in the pharmaceutical field.


Policy Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation

AHO leads the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of pharmaceutical policies as part of its health policies in order to guarantee equitable access to quality essential medicines and promote their rational, evidence-based use by health professionals and the community.


Pharmaceuticals Services based on Primary Health Care

As part of the AHO initiative on the renewal of primary health care, guidelines are being drafted for the development of pharmaceutical services as an integral part of health services based on primary health care.