Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

WHA 72 - Agenda item 11.7 – Access to Medicines and Vaccines - European Union and African Group Statement

Geneva, 27/05/2019 - 11:29, UNIQUE ID: 190527_4
Joint Statements

WHO 72nd World Health Assembly (20-28 May 2019) Agenda item 11.7 – Access to Medicines and Vaccines European Union and African Group Statement

Honourable Chair,

Distinguished Director-General,


This joint statement is presented on behalf of the Member States of the African Group and of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate countries to the EU North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia [1] and  Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Ukraine and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

We thank the WHO Secretariat for providing a roadmap for improving access to medicines and vaccines.

Access to essential, quality-assured, affordable medicines and vaccines is a concern for countries in all regions of the world. In low- and middle-income countries, in particular, inadequate supply of quality medicines and vaccines contribute to the high burden of, often, preventable and treatable diseases. In addition, the procurement of medicines may represent a significant part of expenditures in health budgets of many low- and middle-income countries, including placing high demands on out of pocket expenditures.

Chairperson, we would like to reaffirm the human right of access to services in the context of effective and efficient health systems, in order to attain Universal Health Coverage. This, along with access to safe, efficacious and quality medicines and vaccines is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The roadmap identifies important areas towards the realization of better access to quality and affordable medicines. We note that there are areas where ongoing actions can be strengthened for results, even in the short term. Areas such as building and strengthening health systems, better use of TRIPS flexibilities, regulatory capacity, ensuring the safety of medicines, fostering research and development of medicines and vaccines for communicable and noncommunicable diseases, capacity-building, and addressing the numerous barriers to access to medicines, such as unaffordable prices.

Chairperson, The Thirteenth General Program of Work (GPW13) now provides member states an important framework with which to strengthen this area of work, particularly noting shared targets with the Sustainable Development Goals. We urge WHO at all levels to work closely with member states to provide the support needed to make progress, in line with its mandate.

Chairperson, the African Group and the European Union aim to strengthen our mutual cooperation. We therefore request WHO to strengthen support to countries, particularly LIC’s, including MIC’s.

Also, we look forward to the finalization of the indicators for measuring success in the various streams of work as this will help us to track progress.

In conclusion, we esteem that the use and access to quality and affordable medicines should go hand in a hand and be universal, available everywhere and for anyone. Whereby the end-user and patient should be at the center, in order to contribute to sustainability and ownership.

We thank you.



[1] North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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