Governments need reliable information on the price, availability and affordability of medicines to develop sound medicine pricing policies and to evaluate the impact of policy implementation. To help researchers collect this information in their countries, Health Action International offers a free standardised methodology.
The methodology pulls together and analyses data on medicine prices for both patient out-of-pocket expenses and government procurement prices across sectors and country regions. It also assesses medicine availability, affordability and price components, such as taxes and mark-ups.
In an effort to improve transparency, we also publish data from surveys on our publicly accessible database.
For more information about the methodology, contact Marg Ewen.
Update to the manual (May 2016):
(1) In the global core list of survey medicines, atenolol 50mg tab/cap has been replaced by bisoprolol 5mg tab/cap, and glibenclamide 5mg tab/cap has been replaced by metformin 500mg tab/cap.
(2) The regional lists have been removed. The 50 survey medicines consist of 14 from the global core list and 36 chosen by the national investigator.
Measuring Medicine Prices, Availability, Affordability and Price Components (2nd Edition)
by Health Action International and World Health Organization (2008)
The WHO/HAI medicine price, availability and affordability survey methodology can be downloaded for free below. To request a hard copy, email the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines and Health Products department.
Part 1: Prices, availability and affordability (Multi-language)
(1) Regional core lists of survey medicines have been removed from the workbook. The 50 survey medicines consist of 14 from the global core list and 36 chosen by the national investigator.
(2) To survey three product types for each medicine (e.g., originator brand, highest-priced generic equivalent or most-sold generic equivalent, and lowest-priced generic equivalent), email Marg Ewen at Health Action International to request an expanded workbook that accommodates three product types
Part 2: Price components (Multi-language)
Download Manual by Sections
- Abridged questionnaire on structures and processes of country pharmaceutical situation, Annex 1
(EN | RU | FR and ES available in Annexes below)
- Example of a letter of endorsement, Annex 2
(EN | RU | FR and ES available in Annexes below)
- Survey protocol template (EN)
- Measuring medicine prices and availability in the non-formal health sector (EN)
- Using the WHO/HAI medicine price methodology to survey a therapeutic group of medicines (EN | ES | RU)
- Medicine lists from other surveys:
– Priority life-saving medicines for women and children (EN)
- Introduction to the survey and training workshop (EN | ES | RU)
- Overview of the survey methodology (EN | ES | RU)
- Data collection procedures (EN | ES | RU)
- Completing the data collection form (EN | ES | RU)
- Data entry (EN| ES | RU)
- Data quality and checking (EN | ES | RU)
- Instructions for area supervisors (EN | FR | ES | RU)
- Instructions for data collectors (EN | FR | ES | RU)
- Instructions for completing the Medicine Price Data Collection Form (EN | FR | ES | RU)
- Spot the mistakes exercise (EN | FR | ES | RU) and answer key (EN | FR | ES | RU)
- Data checker exercise (Multi-language)
- Sample training evaluation form (EN | FR | ES | RU)
- Letter of introduction from survey manager, Annex 4 (EN | RU | FR and ES available in Annexes below)
- Price components interview guide, Annex 6 (EN | RU | FR and ES available in Annexes below)
- Price components data collection form, Annex 7 (EN | RU | FR and ES available in Annexes below)
- Hovland, I. Successful Communication A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations. London: ODI, 2005 (EN)
- Chetley A, Hardon A, Hodgkin C, Haaland A, Fresle D. How to improve the use of medicines by consumers. Geneva: WHO; 2007 (EN)
- Hardon A, Hodgkin C, Fresle D. How to investigate the use of medicines by consumers. Geneva: WHO and the University of Amsterdam; 2004 (EN)
- Abridged questionnaire on structures and processes of country pharmaceutical situations
- Example of a letter of endorsement
- Trainer’s guide for training area supervisors, data collectors and data entry personnel
- Example of a letter of introduction from the survey manager
- Checklist for manual check of survey data
- Price components interview guide
- Price components data collection form
- International comparison of MPRs: adjustment for reference price year, inflation /deflation and purchasing power parity
Updates to Manual and Workbooks (EN)
Health Action International offers online support to survey managers who are using our methodology to conduct a medicine price, availability and affordability survey. At a minimum, the process involves checking documents and data at various stages of the survey:
- Survey protocol, which involves at least two steps: initial comments on the draft protocol and after the protocol has been updated (but before it is finalised).
- Workbook (Part 1), prior to training survey personnel.
- Workbook (Part 1), after data has been entered and checked by the survey manager. Price components of the survey protocol should be updated by the survey manager at this stage. This update should also be submitted and reviewed.
- Workbook (Parts 1 and 2) and the draft survey report, which consists of the final check of the price and availability data in Part 1 of the workbook and the only check of the price components data in Part 2 of the workbook. The draft survey report will also be reviewed so it is consistent with the findings.
We encourage survey managers to contact us at any time throughout the survey process with questions.