Medicines as a Key Component of Universal Health Coverage: World Café Conversations


Medicines are central to achieving the health care access, quality, and risk protection goals of universal health coverage (UHC).  Wise medicines management and sound policies are also crucial for the financial sustainability of UHC schemes.  Countries and schemes pursuing UHC are at different stages of developing and implementing targeted medicines management and policy approaches.  Stakeholders can benefit from and are interested in sharing strategies, tools, and experiences. 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Harvard Medical School’s Department of Population Medicine, with support from the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) and NUS, hosted a set of World Café Conversations on Medicines: A Key Component of Universal Health Coverage in Singapore from 2 to 4 October 2013.


The goal of the conversations was to generate ideas for strategies to promote evidence-informed medicines management and policies in countries working toward UHC.  The meeting brought together more than 50 invited experts from different stakeholder groups, including health care and health financing institutions, academia, and development partners from 15 countries: Australia, China, Germany, Indonesia, Korea, Lao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

During the 2.5-day meeting, participants:

  1. Shared results from the Medicines and Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Initiative study of medicines policies in 10 insurance schemes in 5 Asian countries;

  2. Discussed key challenges and experiences in medicines management and policy when working toward UHC;

  3. Identified ethical, legal, and social issues around medicines on the path to UHC;

  4. Identified system needs for addressing medicines challenges as part of UHC implementation; and

  5. Proposed topics for continued collaborative learning to support development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health system-based medicines management and policies.


Click here for the meeting agenda

Click here for presentation slides


Click here for the list of meeting participants



DPRG Co-Organizers: Anita Katharina Wagner, Christine Lu, Dennis Ross-Degnan

International Co-Organizers: Klara Tisocki, Essential Medicines and Health Technologies, World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office; Calvin Ho and Karel Caals, Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Funders: World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office and National University of Singapore

Related Links

Medicines and Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Research

Medicines and Insurance Coverage (MedIC) Initiative Training

Related Resources

Medicines as Part of Universal Health Coverage: Starting a Dialogue