On 30 April 2020, the World Customs Organization (WCO) informed that it 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 considering 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:
Taking into consideration the suggestions received from Members and other stakeholders, the WCO/WHO HS Classification Reference for Covid-19 Medical Supplies was once more updated with additional items that could be used during this pandemic situation.
Future initiative foreseen by the WCO for COVID-19 medical supplies list
The WCO is aware that some countries have used the WCO list as a reference when making their own national lists of medical supplies. In order to further facilitate trade in medical supplies and present information in a coordinated manner, the WCO is considering, for the next edition of the medical supplies list, to include links to specific national classification lists of medical supplies.
Further assistance in identifying essential items can be found on the website of WHO. The COVID-19 Critical Items List from the WHO can be found at: