Govt adds 34 drugs to essential medicines list | The Financial Express

Govt adds 34 drugs to essential medicines list

The anti-cancer drugs on the list include Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCL Trihydrate and Lenalidomide.

Govt adds 34 drugs to essential medicines list
The treatment has a fast track designation from the U.S. drug agency for cUTI and acute pyelonephritis. (File/IE)

The Union health ministry on Tuesday added 34 new drugs to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022. The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories with more anti-cancer, antibiotics and vaccines being added to the list, making them more affordable. This was done after taking into consideration the advancement in cancer medicines and cost issues.

There are now 384 drugs on the new list. A total of 26 drugs were deleted from the previous list, which was last revised in 2015. The price of drugs in the NLEM are regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.

The anti-cancer drugs on the list include Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCL Trihydrate and Lenalidomide.

Significant additions and deletions have also been made in the anti-infective categories.

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New drugs on the list are endocrine medicines, contraceptives, Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine, Teneliglitin, respiratory medicine Montelukast, ophthalmological drug Latanoprost, cardiovascular medicines Dabigatran, and Tenecteplase.

The revised NLEM has four patented drugs — Bedaquiline, Delamanid (for TB), Doulutegravir and Daclatasavir. The list also includes psychotherapeutic medicines, nicotine replacement therapy and Buprenorphine.

Anti-infectives included in the list are Ivermectin, Meropenem, Cefuroxime, Amikacin, Bedaquiline, Delamanid and Itraconazole ABC Dolutegravir.

Among the 26 drugs deleted from the list are antacid, Ranitidine, Sucralfate, White Petrolatum, Atenolol and Methyldopa. These drugs were deleted from the list based on safety concerns, Dr YK Gupta, vice-chairman of the Standing National Committee on Medicines, said.

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According to Dr Gupta, none of the Covid-19 drugs has been included in the list as they were only granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) and have not completed their trials yet. The list is dynamic and drugs would be added or deleted based on scientific reasoning and consultative process, he added.

Releasing the NLEM 2022 list, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said it was a step towards affordable healthcare. The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines and help in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget, drug procurement policies, health insurance and drafting of pharmaceutical policies, the minister said.

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