Anti-Cancer Drugs Essential Medicines: Many anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics and vaccines will now become more affordable as they are among 34 new additional drugs on the national list of essential medicines, which the government says will reduce “patient out-of-pocket costs”.
Anti-infectives like Ivermectin, Mupirocin and Meropenem have also been added to the list, taking the total drugs under it to 384.
Four major anti-cancer drugs – Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide and Leuprolide acetate which are effective in various types of cancers – and psychotherapeutic medicines – Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Buprenorphine – have been added to the list.
Anti-Cancer Drugs are now Essential Medicines
However, 26 drugs such as ranitidine, sucralfate, white petrolatum, atenolol and methyldopa have been dropped from the previous list. Deletion has been done based on the parameters of cost effectiveness and availability of better drugs.
After releasing the list on Tuesday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted, “National List of Essential Medicines 2022 released. It includes 384 drugs in 27 categories. Many antibiotics, vaccines, anti-cancer drugs and many other important drugs more Affordable and reduce out-of-pocket expenses of patients.”
Speaking on the occasion, he said that his ministry is taking several steps towards “Sabko Dawa, Affordable Medicine” under the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Towards this, the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) plays a vital role in ensuring access to affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare. This will promote cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute to reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure. on healthcare for citizens,” he said.
The primary objective of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering three important aspects – cost, safety and efficacy, Mr Mandaviya said.
He said that NLEM is a dynamic document and is revised on a regular basis keeping in view the changing public health priorities as well as advances in pharmaceutical knowledge. NLEM was formulated in 1996 and was revised thrice earlier in 2003, 2011 and 2015.
The revision of NLEM 2022 has been done after constant consultation with stakeholders including academicians, industrialists and public policy experts etc. and important documents like WHO EML 2021.
The endocrine drugs and contraceptives Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine and Teneliglitin have been added to the revised list.
Montelukast, which acts on the respiratory tract, and the ophthalmic drug latanoprost are also included in the list.
In addition, the cardiac drugs dabigatran and tenecteplase also find a place on the list, in addition to drugs used in palliative care.
“Antifectives like ivermectine, meropenem, cefuroxime, amikacin, bedaquiline, delamanid, itraconazole abc dolutegravir have been added to the NLM,” said Dr YK Gupta, vice chairman, Standing National Committee on Medicines.
The drugs in NLEM are in the scheduled category and their pricing is controlled by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, Dr Gupta said.