WHO updates list of critical drugs for radiological and nuclear emergencies

WHO updates list of critical drugs for radiological and nuclear emergencies
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has today updated its stockpile list of drugs for radiological and nuclear emergencies and policy recommendations for their appropriate management. These stocks include drugs that prevent or reduce radiation exposure or treat injuries after exposure.

“In radiation emergencies, people can be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life-threatening doses. Governments need to deliver treatments quickly to those who need them,” he said. “It is essential that governments be prepared to protect public health and respond promptly to emergencies. This includes making life-saving medicines available to reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation.”


  • It broadcasting 2007 Replaces WHO to report on the development of national stockpiles for radiation emergencies. Contains updated information on the stock formula based on advances in radiation emergency medicine over the past decade.
  • Provides policy advice for the acquisition of drugs that can prevent or reduce radionuclide uptake or increase excretion of radionuclides from the human body.
  • It looks at the key elements necessary for the development, maintenance and management of national stockpiles of special medical supplies that will be needed for radiological and nuclear emergencies.
  • This to report It looks at the role of the WHO as well as the role of national health authorities in stock development. As the leading international organization in public health with the mandate and responsibility to assist in health emergencies, WHO provides advice and guidance to countries on public health preparedness and response to radiation emergencies, including stockpiling. In health emergencies, WHO can assist in the procurement or sharing of medical supplies between countries.
  • It to report It includes a brief review of selected emerging technologies and drug formulations, including possible reuse of products previously approved for other indications.
  • Finally, broadcasting It provides examples of national stock building and management practices in selected countries such as Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and USA.

“It updated list of critical drugs “It will be a vital preparedness and readiness tool for our partners to timely identify, procure, stockpile and deliver effective countermeasures to those at risk or exposed in these events,” said Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

Typically, a national stockpile for all-hazard health emergencies includes generics and supplies used for all types of emergencies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), trauma kits, fluids, antibiotics, and pain relievers. This publication contains only certain drugs known and licensed today to prevent or treat human overexposure to radiation.

Radiological and nuclear emergencies can result in exposure to radiation doses high enough to cause serious health consequences and even death. Therefore, it is extremely important that governments respond quickly to such threats. However, according to annual reports to the WHO Secretariat, many countries still lack the essentials for preparedness for radiation emergencies.

Possible scenarios covered in the publication include radiological or nuclear emergencies at nuclear power plants, medical or research facilities, or accidents during the transport of radioactive materials, and the malicious use of radioactive materials.

Components of a pharmaceutical stock for radiation emergencies

It broadcasting focuses on pharmaceuticals to treat radiation exposure and handles the administration and management of such a stock. A typical radiation emergency stockpile will contain the following drugs:

  • Stable iodine administered to prevent or reduce thyroid exposure to radioactive iodine;
  • Chelating sand decorators (Prussian blue applied to remove radioactive cesium from the body and calcium-/zinc-DTPA used to treat internal contamination with transuranium radionuclides);
  • Cytokines used to alleviate bone marrow damage in case of acute radiation syndrome (ARS); and
  • Other medicines used to treat vomiting, diarrhea and infections.

Emerging treatments and countermeasures also discussed in the report provide insight into future medical countermeasures that can be used to manage patients with radiation overexposure. In particular, studies identifying new cellular and molecular pathways and drug delivery vehicles can be used for new treatments and new products for use in a radiation emergency.

Emergency preparedness, response and recovery save lives

Coordination of local, national and international responses is essential for a harmonious response to radiation emergencies. As the agency responsible for guiding health responses worldwide, WHO provides advice and access to medicines and healthcare for countries that are building national capacity for radiation emergency preparedness and response.

More information

REMPAN, WHO’s global network of experts

WHO’s global network of experts, REMPAN (The Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network) is an important asset of the Organization to implement its work in providing technical guidance and tools for response, providing capacity building activities through education and training, and promoting international cooperation and knowledge sharing. members of the network and the professional community in radiation emergency medicine.

is a member of WHO ICARNEInter-Agency Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies Committee, which provides the coordination mechanism among 20 international organizations with relevant powers. IACRNE members develop, maintain and co-sponsor the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of International Organizations (JPlan 2017). JPlan defines a common understanding of each organization’s roles in making preparation arrangements and during a response and recovery.

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