Abstract : PURPOSE: Up to 4600 drugs in about 15,000 pharmaceutical forms are available in France which may be a source of misuse with increased occurrence of side effects and costs. While the World Health Organization is encouraging each developed country to work out its own list of essential drugs. The list provided in 2008 by the French Office for the safety of health products has had so far limited impact on practice, so it became obvious to a group of internists to work out a "wise list" of 100 essential medicines covering 95% of the disorders observed in France. METHODS: In June 2011, 10 internists agreed to each provide a list of 100 essential medicines, according to individual experience. In December 2011, a meeting of the participants provided a list as initial consensus and mandated five among them to make proposals for those areas neglected by too many participants or in which needless dispersion of medicines was stated. After internet-facilitated exchanges, an additional list was validated in mild-January 2012. RESULTS: Fifty-four drugs were included in the list of initial consensus (including nine selected by all 10 participants), and 46 in the additional list. So the final "wise list" included 100 drugs. In June 2012, 56 of these drugs were available as generics. This list was compared to those lists set out by five countries in the European Union. CONCLUSION: Generating such a list is feasible. Undoubtedly still non-comprehensive, this list will benefit from the expertise of 14 general practitioners who are currently working out a similar list across France. The final list will be submitted for validation by the French associations of generalist teachers and Internists.