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UCB welcomes the epilepsy treatment updates to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines

Posted by
Michael Fürst, Social Business, UCB

At UCB, we believe everyone deserves to live the best life that they can – as free as possible from the challenges and uncertainty of disease. We develop solutions across neurology, immunology, and other areas where our expertise, innovation, and ambition align with the needs of those who live with severe diseases. UCB has a rich heritage in epilepsy, with over 30 years of experience in the research, development and delivery of antiseizure medications. As a company with a long-term commitment to epilepsy research, we want to contribute to solutions that address unmet medical needs of all patients living with epilepsy. 

UCB welcomes the inclusion of levetiracetam in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines (WHO EML), which we hope will result in an opportunity to widen the treatment options for people living with epileptic seizures around the world. To express our support for levetiracetam’s inclusion on the WHO Essential Medicines List, UCB provided a positive letter to the WHO Secretariat of the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, signed by our CEO Jean-Christophe Tellier and Chief Medical Officer Iris Loew-Friedrich.

We are committed to improving access to quality care and medicines for people with epilepsy. Nearly 80% of people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), where treatment gaps exceed 75% in most low-income countries and 50% in most middle-income countries, despite the effectiveness of available antiseizure medicines. To read more about our commitment, visit our Integrated Annual Report.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines 

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of a population. They are selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and safety and comparative cost-effectiveness. They are intended to be available in functioning health systems at all times, in appropriate dosage forms, of assured quality and at prices individuals and health systems can afford. 

The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines is intended as a guide for countries or regional authorities to adopt or adapt in accordance with local priorities and treatment guidelines for the development and updating of national essential medicines lists. Selection of a limited number of medicines as essential, taking into consideration national disease burden and clinical need, can lead to improved access through streamlined procurement and distribution of quality-assured medicines, support more rational or appropriate prescribing and use and lower costs for both health care systems and for patients.

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