WHO publishes new edition of its Model List of Essential Medicines

8 May 2015

8 May 2015 - The World Health Organization (WHO) has today published the updated Model List of Essential Medicines. 

In what is a milestone in patients' access to cancer medicines, the Model List's publication is the culmination of a comprehensive review process which included the valuable input of individuals from many UICC member organisations.

The latest edition of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines includes 16 new cancer treatments - the largest single package since the list began in 1977.

The move paves the way for improving access to innovative medicines, as WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan stated in a press release today, “When new effective medicines emerge to safely treat serious and widespread diseases, it is vital to ensure that everyone who needs them can obtain them. Placing them on the WHO Essential Medicines List is a first step in that direction.”

Working in collaboration with WHO, a UICC-led review assessed 52 medicines and proposed extending the 2013 list of 30 cancer medicines to 46 – recommended based on their impact in saving lives and reducing suffering.

Recomendations were based on the expert contributions of over 90 oncologists drawn from across the UICC membership, who put hundreds of volunteer hours into this under the chairmanship of Professor Larry Shulman of Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Key contributions included those from ASCO, SIOP and ESMO which focused on clinical benefits linking the medicines to the cancers they treat and how they could have enormous public health impact globally.

UICC would like to express particular gratitude to:

  • Livestrong Foundation for their recognition of the importance and funding of the early advocacy work on essential medicines of the Geneva team
  • UICC Fellow Claire Wagner for her resolute coordination of the review and timely submission of the proposal. This fellowship was made possible with the kind support of NCI-CGH, USA
  • The UICC task team members Gilberto Lopes (ASCO), Alex Eniu (ESMO), Ronnie Barr (SIOP) and UICC President Tezer Kutluk and the long list of volunteers that helped craft the expert disease briefings
  • Larry Shulman for his unwavering leadership and support as chair of this initiative

For more information and to access the online release:

Last update: 
Friday 7 June 2019