The work of the Commission is timely. Thirty years have passed since the historic Nairobi Conference in 1985, where the international community discussed and recognized the need for a series of coherent strategies ensuring the investment made in essential medicines would translate into sustainable health gains. The Conference resulted in practical recommendations, subsequently adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1986, which have guided global medicine policies for decades.

However, old challenges continue to persist while new obstacles are formed. In the coming decades decision-makers –regardless of their country income- will face many common global challenges related to essential medicines, including continuing ARV treatment for 20 million patients living with HIV; new fixed-dose combinations of ART; overcoming stigma and barriers to modern contraception methods and vaccinations; improving and harmonizing medicine regulations to ensure quality, safety and availability of formulations that are adapted for neonates and young children. The Commission’s report will foreshadow such issues in more detail and present feasible recommendations for global, regional and local actors to pursue.