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The WHO has updated the Essential Medications List (EML) every two years since its inception in 1977. The EML prioritizes medicines that contribute to improved survival and/or quality of life against communicable and non-communicable diseases. The List is important for driving country-level policy and access to care, particularly in low-middle/upper-middle income countries that do not have their own processes for health technology assessment.

At the direction of the WHO EML Secretariat we are undertaking a global survey of practicing oncologists to understand which cancer medicines they consider essential. In this study, we will ask oncologists from diverse practice settings globally to consider which 10 cancer medicines they would consider the most essential. It is our hope that the answers to this question will offer unique on-the-ground insight into which cancer medicines front-line clinicians consider essential. For those medicines which are on the EML, we will gain insight into the extent to which they are actually available in their current practice environment and why they might not be available. Finally, medicines that are commonly reported by study respondents but which are not yet on the EML will be considered for future inclusion.