Expanding medicines for neurologic disorders on the WHO Model List

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Abstract

The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines is a recommended formulary for high-priority diseases based on public health trends and epidemiology patterns. The biennial publication serves as a guide for countries, particularly low- and lower-middle-income countries, to develop their own national essential medicines list (EML), and many nongovernmental organizations base their medication supplies on the WHO EML. Over the last 40 years, WHO has expanded the EML in response to treatment gaps for infectious diseases, pediatrics, palliative care, and cancer. In contrast, neurotherapeutics are poorly represented on the Model List despite the global burden of neurologic disorders, which have continued to increase in the last decade. It is imperative that the neurology community advocate for more evidence-based neurologic medicines on the WHO EML. Equitable access to essential neurologic medicines is a crucial step toward reducing the treatment gap for high-burden neurologic disorders worldwide.

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