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WHO/WCO list of priority medicines and an updated joint WCO/WHO HS classification list for COVID-19 medical supplies now available

The WCO continues its close cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) to contribute to the rapid cross-border movement of medical supplies and medicines needed urgently during the current COVID-19 global pandemic.  Following the coordinated response adopted by the two organizations, a WHO/WCO List of Priority Medicines was released and the Joint WCO/WHO HS Classification List for COVID-19 Medical Supplies was further updated.

The clinical characteristics of the COVID-19 and its evolution makes it challenging for the health system of many countries and shortage of medicines can worsen the situation.  Potential supply chain disruptions may jeopardize the timely supply of all essential medicines, including those not directly related to COVID-19.

The List of WHO/WCO Priority Medicines for Customs Used during COVID-19 aims at assisting Customs and economic operators in classifying these medicines.  The list contains the suggested HS codes for medicines used in the general medical care administered to hospitalized patients; as part of the direct treatment of the COVID-19 disease; and for which interrupted supply could result in serious health consequences.

The new list, which will now be continuously updated, is the result of an efficient collaboration between the WHO and the WCO.  The medicines and active substances were compiled by the WHO taking into account various information published by National Health Authorities, scientific societies or pharmacology experts, and with suggested HS codes provided by the WCO Secretariat.

The List of WHO/WCO priority medicines used during COVID-19 can be found on the WCO COVID-19 dedicated webpage

This was excerpted from a 30 April 2020 news release by the World Customs Organization.

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COVID-19 is a global challenge. Keeping our supply chains moving is important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of citizens and businesses. While the Canada - U.S. border is now closed to non-essential traffic, it is still open for trade and commerce. We are committed to doing our part for global supply chains.

We are protecting the health and safety of our employees. They are working from home, except for critical functions that require certain equipment or managing paper/courier flow. In those cases we are following social distancing guidelines.

We are open and available to assist you, and key players in your supply chains. Our dedicated staff are available 24/7 and our brokerage and logistics experts are available to help you make adjustments to your supply chain, if necessary.

We encourage you to check out the government programs available to families, businesses, exporters and importers. And, while respecting the need for social distancing we encourage everyone, including our staff, to reach out and remain connected to family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Stay safe.

Peter Willson
Chairman & CEO
Willson International

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