Anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, vaccines to be cheaper: Centretext_fields
New Delhi: After being included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), many anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, and vaccines will become cheaper, the Centre informed. It has added 34 new items to the NLEM list and said that it would reduce patients' own expenditure, PTI reported.
Including Ivermectin, Mupirocin and Meropenem, the total number of drugs on the list reached 384,
The anti-cancer drugs added to the list include Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide and Leuprolide acetate. Further, psychotherapeutic medicines Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Buprenorphine were also added. Endocrine medicines and contraceptives Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine and Teneliglitin were added along with Montelukast, which acts on the respiratory tract, and ophthalmological drug Latanoprost. Cardiovascular medicines Dabigatran and Tenecteplase were also included as well as medicines used in palliative care.
Meanwhile, 26 drugs, including Ranitidine, Sucralfate, white petrolatum, Atenolol and Methyldopa, were dropped from the previous list. They were dropped based on parameters of cost-effectiveness and availability of better drugs, it was justified.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launched the refreshed list on Tuesday and tweeted, "Released the National List of Essential Medicines 2022. It comprises 384 drugs across 27 categories. Several antibiotics, vaccines, anti-cancer drugs and many other important drugs will become more affordable & reduce patients' out-of-pocket expenditure."
Speaking on occasion, he said that his ministry is working on aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of "Sabko Dawai, Sasti Dawai".
He said, "In this direction, the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) plays an important role in ensuring accessibility of affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare. This will boost cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute towards a reduction in Out of Pocket Expenditure on healthcare for the citizens."
The minister said that the primary objective of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects of cost, safety and efficacy.
NLEM is a dynamic document and is revised regularly considering the changing public health priorities as well as advancements in pharmaceutical knowledge. It was created in 1996, and it was revised thrice earlier in 2003, 2011, and 2015, the minister said.
The latest revision was done after consulting with stakeholders from academia, industry and public policy, as well as crucial documents like WHO EML 2021.
Dr Y K Gupta, Vice Chairman of the Standing National Committee on Medicines, said, "Antinfectives such as Ivermectin, Meropenem, Cefuroxime, Amikacin, Bedaquiline, Delamanid, Itraconazole ABC Dolutegravir have been added to the NLM."
He said the NLEM drugs are in the scheduled category, and their prices are regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
A revised list of 399 formulations was submitted by an expert committee under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) last year. After a detailed analysis of Indian requirements, major changes were sought by Mr Mandaviya.