In news: Recently, twenty-six drugs, including the common gastrointestinal medicines ranitidine and sucralfate, have been deleted from the revised National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022.
- The National List of Essential Medicines was first compiled in 1996 and it was revised thrice earlier in 2003, 2011, and 2015.
- Three hundred and eighty-four drugs find place in the NLEM, 2022 with the addition of 34 drugs, while 26 from the previous list have been dropped.
What is NLEM?
- As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare hence prepared and released the first National List of Essential Medicines of India in 1996 consisting of 279 medicines.
- The list is made with consideration to disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness of the medicines.
- Such medicines are intended to be available in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms and strengths with assured quality.
- They should be available in such a way that an individual or community can afford.
NLEM in India
- Drugs listed under NLEM — also known as scheduled drugs — will be cheaper because the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) caps medicine prices and changes only based on wholesale price index-based inflation.
- The list includes anti-infectives medicines to treat diabetes such as insulin — HIV, tuberculosis, cancer, contraceptives, hormonal medicines and anaesthetics.
- Companies selling non-scheduled drugs can hike prices by up to 10 per cent every year.
- Typically, once NLEM is released, the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers adds them in the Drug Price Control Order, after which NPPA fixes the price.
Source: The Hindu