Medicines and health technologies programme

The Medicines and Health Technologies Unit provides technical cooperation to governments in developing policies, plans and strategies to ensure access to medicines, vaccines and other health technologies;

to strengthen governance capacity and regulation, and the support of national systems to facilitate access to vaccines and medicines through regional procurement mechanisms, collaborative networks and regional platform such as the Regional Platform on Access and Innovation for Health Technologies.

The Unit promotes the strengthening of pharmaceutical services, radiology and blood, the establishment of priorities for selecting health technologies for health systems, the application of evidence in decisions regarding the incorporation and use of health technologies, and the promotion of rational use of medicines and health technologies in health systems.


Essential Medicines and Biologicals   Areas of Work

Access and Innovation

Pharmaceutical Policies

Quality and Regulation of Medicines and Biologicals

Rational Use of Medicines and other Health Technologies

Strategic Fund



Other areas of Technical Cooperation

Blood Services

Radiological Health

Health Technology Assessment

Medical Devices

Medicines and Biologicals


Access and innovation

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 organised system that integrates the selection, financing, procurement and distribution of pharmaceuticals in accordance with the needs of the population


Pharmaceutical Policies

Pharmaceutical policy is a commitment to a goal and a guide for action. It expresses and prioritises 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.

Pharmaceutical policy is important because it acts as a formal record of aspirations, aims, decisions and commitments. Without such a formal policy document there may be no general overview of what is needed; as a result, some government measures may conflict with others, because the various goals and responsibilities are not clearly defined and understood


Policy Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation

AHO works with governments at the national and sub-regional level in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of pharmaceutical policies as part of their 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, regional guidelines are being drafted for the development of pharmaceutical services as an integral part of health services based on primary health care.