Govt adds 34 new drugs to National List of Essential Medicines

The government has added 34 new medicines to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), to ensure accessibility of affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare. This takes the number of drugs in the list of essential drugs to 384.

The revised list while adding 34 new drugs, has dropped 26 drugs from the previous list. The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories.
Speaking on the occasion, union minister of health, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, stated that the “essential medicines” are those that satisfy the priority health care needs, based on efficacy, safety, quality and total cost of the treatment. The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects, ie, cost, safety and efficacy. It also helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies, health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and training for UG/PG; and drafting pharmaceutical policies. 
He elaborated that the concept is based on the premise that a limited list of carefully selected medicines will improve quality of health care, provide cost-effective health care and better management of medicines. He added that the NLEM is a dynamic document and is revised on a regular basis considering the changing public health priorities as well as advancement in pharmaceutical knowledge. The National List of Essential Medicines was first formulated in 1996 and it was revised thrice earlier in 2003, 2011, and 2015.
“The independent Standing National Committee on Medicines (SNCM) was constituted by union health ministry in 2018. The committee after detailed consultation with experts and stakeholders has revised the NLEM, 2015 and submitted its report on NLEM, 2022 to the ministry of health and family welfare. Government of India has accepted the recommendations of the committee and adopted the list”, he stated. He also noted that the process of creation of NLEM depends on the feedback backed by scientific sources from stakeholders and inclusion/exclusion principle followed.
Revision of NLEM 2022 has been done after constant consultation with stakeholders spanning from academia, industrialists and public policy experts etc, and crucial documents like WHO EML 2021, says the health ministry release.