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Government brings 376 drugs under new list of essential medicines

 MEDICINE

The Health Ministry has drawn up the revised National List of Essential Medicines which has seen the number of medicines go up to 376 from 348 in the earlier list prepared in 2011. There are a few new additions in the list but a number of drugs have been taken off as well, according to industry sources.

A December 23 notification posted on the site of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization said the government had constituted a core committee under the chairmanship of V.M. Katoc . The revision includes addition of 106 essential medicines and deletion of 70 medicines. With this total number of essential medicines in the list has gone up to 376 from earlier 348 medicines.This move will ensure their availability across the country at affordable prices. The new list takes cues from the World Health Organisation (WHO’s) 2015 list of essential drugs and medicines that satisfies the priority healthcare needs of people and ensure affordability.

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the country’s population. They are listed with reference to the levels of healthcare namely primary, secondary and tertiary. They are generally based on the country’s disease burden, priority health concerns, affordability concerns etc. In India NLEM (formed in 2011) decides the essential medicines. It is a dynamic list and is reviewed every 3 years to include or exclude drugs as relevant to the newest medical innovations and aligned to the current market competition. It should be noted that National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser decides the ceiling prices essential medicines under The Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013.