D24 - Hot Topic: FIP-WHO joint session on access to medicines

Conference Hall A - Section D

FIP Congress Programme Committee


Tetsuya Ozeki (Nagoya City University, Japan) and Sabine Kopp (World Health Organization, Switzerland)


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), access to safe, effective and quality medicines and vaccines for all is vital for the health and wellbeing of the population. WHO supports the governments in promoting stronger infrastructure allowing improved access to medicines and vaccines. How can pharmacists be part of the solution for better patient care?

Access is a global concern in view of the persisting problems of shortages of medicines. Without timely access, yet more pressure will be placed on hospitals through patients having crises due to a lack of medication. Since 2006, health professionals have noticed a significant increase in the number of shortages. It remains a concern for all actors of the pharmaceutical chain, from manufacturers to wholesalers, community pharmacists and hospitals. The presentation from France will outline the new “DP Shortage” project aiming at improved reporting, and thus preventing further shortages.

Barriers to access vary in context. An example of a geopolitical situation potentially restricting access to medicines is the projected direct result of the tumultuous Brexit deal, yet to be finalised. The goods that benefit from free movement across Europe include medicines. The pharmaceutical supply industry has adapted itself to these arrangements. So any big, sudden change, whether it’s leaving the customs union and single market, or negotiations breaking down resulting in no deal, has the potential to create major problems. Delays at ports, increased costs and legal or regulatory differences are among the issues not only UK may be soon facing.

The industry and the government play a key role of guaranteeing access to quality and affordable medicines on a sustainable basis though a robust value chain. Nigeria has recently prioritised the local pharmaceutical manufacturing, to improve health care delivery in the country, with the vision to increase local production of essential drugs from the present 40 per cent to at least 75 per cent to ensure drug security. Pharmacists are involved in recommendations on how to increase local production of essential medicines and boost drug security in the country.

High costs of the medicines and pharmaceutical expenditures create a burden on health systems. In South Korea, pharmacists have been advocating for international non-proprietary name (INN) prescribing policies that stimulate generic substitution. This prescribing has widely recognized advantages, such as easier prescribing, an increased familiarity with scientific nomenclature, more rational expenditures on drugs and an easier access to therapy. The presentation will outline the journey of Korean Pharmaceutical Association in implementing INN prescribing to stimulate access.

This joint FIP-WHO session will present some of the latest strategies pharmacists have implemented in order to improve access to medicines.



14:30 – 14:35 Introduction by the chairs

  1. 14:35 – 15:05 Access to medicines – WHO perspective
    Sabine Kopp (World Health Organization, Switzerland)
  2. Measures to improve access to medicines – Showcase from pharmacists’ associations:
    • 15:05 – 15:30 The impact of Brexit on access to medicines: Are we ready?
      Ashok Soni (Royal Pharmaceutical Society, UK)
    • 15:30 – 15:50 The French DP shortage information system
      Carine Wolf-Thal (French Chamber of Pharmacists, France)

15:50 – 16:10 Coffee/tea break

  1. 16:10 – 16:30 Improving access through policies and supply chains: Stimulating local production in Nigeria
    Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa (Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Nigeria)
  2. 16:30 – 17:00 Reducing medication costs: INN prescribing in South Korea
    Chang Seok Goo (Korean Pharmaceutical Association, South Korea)

17:00 – 17:25 Q & A moderated by the chairs, summary and wrap up

17:25 – 17:30 Room refresh

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Outline the strategies focused on improving access to essential medicines
  2. Identify the gaps and barriers to access to medicines
  3. Identify how to improve access through national and international policies
  4. Define the importance of pharmacists’ involvement in various strategies improving access to medicines.

Type of session: Knowledge-based