The National List of Essential Medicines now includes four key anti-cancer medications (NLEM). Bendamustine Hydrochloride, HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide, and Leuprolide Acetate are among the medications in the list.
“Four Anti-cancer drugs have been added to the list like Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide and Leuprolide acetate, these medicines are effective in various types of cancers and these are affordable also,” Vice Chairman, Standing National Committee on Medicines & Health Care Product told ANI. Government is also working on trade rationalisation also so that those medicines which are used for common cancer can come into an affordable limit, he said.
Thirty-four medications, including anti-infectives like Ivermectin, Mupirocin, and Meropenem, as well as the psychotherapy treatment Nicotine Replacement Therapy, have been added to the National List of Essential Medicines, bringing the total number of pharmaceuticals on it to 384.
Furthermore, 26 medications were removed from the amended list, including Ranitidine, Sucralfate, White Petrolatum, Atenolol, and Methyldopa. The elimination was made based on cost-effectiveness and the availability of superior medications.
“Union Health Ministry is taking various steps under the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji towards Sabko Dawai, Sasti Dawai. In this direction, the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) plays an important role in ensuring the accessibility of affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare. This will give a boost to cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute towards a reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare for the citizens,” stated Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.
According to the Union Health secretary, the primary purpose of NLEM is to promote the rational use of medicines
“Just in that context, the primary purpose of the national list of essential medicine is to promote rational use of medicines and when we say rational use, it means that we have to see the cost of the medicine, the safety of the medicine and efficacy of the medicine. So, rational use of medicine is dependent on three parameters of costs, safety, and efficacy,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Minister.
According to the list, hormones, other endocrine medicines and contraceptives Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine and Teneliglitin have been added to the list.
Medicine acting on the respiratory tract Montelukast and ophthalmological drug Latanoprost, cardiovascular medicines Dabigatran and Tenecteplase have also been included.
“Antinfectives such as Ivermectin, Meropenem, Cefuroxime, Amikacin, Bedaquiline, Delamanid, Itraconazole ABC Dolutegravir have been added to the NLEM,” said Dr Y K Gupta.
An expert group under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) presented an updated list of 399 formulations last year, and the list was formally announced by the government in September 2021.