The central government has added 106 drugs, including those for treating cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, to the list of essential medicines whose prices are regulated by the authorities.
This takes the total number of items in the list to 376. The move will ensure their availability across the country at affordable prices.
In a revision of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) by the health ministry's core committee, 106 medicines were added while 70 were deleted after a series of meetings and consultations across the country.
Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. They are based on the country's disease burden, priority health concerns, affordability concerns etc.
The committee recommended that the list, which comes into effect immediately, be revised every three years.
India has been under criticism as the earlier list had left out some life-saving drugs from the list of essential drugs. The new list takes cue from the World Health Organisation's 2015 list of essential drugs, which the United Nations agency defines as those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of people and ensure affordability.