PAHO assists the Member States at the national and subregional 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.

Through a participatory process with all actors from the pharmaceutical sector led by the Ministry of Health based on a situation diagnosis, discussion was promoted and a consensus was reached that lead to approval of pharmaceutical policy through an administrative act such as a ministerial resolution, presidential decree, or law (e.g., Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and, more recently, Panama, where the policy has not yet been approved). In the case of the subregional policies, the policies of the Andean Community, MERCOSUR, and Central America are noteworthy.

Key Information

Pharmaceutical Situation Reports

Transparencia en el sector farmacéutico

National and Subnational Pharmaceutical Policies

- National

Generic Medicines Strategy

Pharmaceutical Country Profiles



According to WHO: "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."

"A national pharmaceutical policy, presented and printed as an official government statement, 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."

Pharmaceuticals services based on Primary Health Care

As part of the PAHO 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.

Pharmaceutical services competencies

Key documents on pharmaceutical services