Union Health Ministry launches National Lists of Essential Medicines

New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry released the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022 . The new list comprises of 384 drugs across 27 therapeutic categories. 384 drugs have been included in this list with addition of 34 drugs, while 26 from the previous list have been dropped.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya stated that the “essential medicines” are those that satisfy the priority health care needs, based on efficacy, safety, quality and total cost of the treatment. The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e., cost, safety and efficacy. It also helps in optimum utilization of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies, health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and training  for UG/PG; and drafting pharmaceutical policies.

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Revised every 3 years, NLEM was last updated in 2015 and a revision was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, NLEM 2022 has been prepared after consultation with 350 experts. A total of 140 meetings took place before the list was finalized. Revision of NLEM 2022 has been done after constant consultation with stakeholders spanning from academia, industrialists and public policy experts etc., and crucial documents like WHO EML 2021.

Notably, Ranitidine was pulled out of the essential stock after detailed discussion with the Drug Controller General of India and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) citing concerns over cancer-causing impurity N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The cause of the deletion of certain medicines range from medicines being banned, safety concerns, alternatives with better efficacy and safety and changes in the disease burden which makes a medicine non-essential and resistance pattern in case of antibiotics.

List of Medicines Added to NLEM – 2022:

1. Amikacin

2. Bedaquiline

3. Bendamustine Hydrochloride

4. Buprenorphine

5. Buprenorphine (A) + Naloxone (B)

6. Cefuroxime

7. Dabigatran

8. Daclatasvir

9. Darunavir (A) + Ritonavir (B)

10. Delamanid

11. Dolutegravir

12. Fludrocortisone

13. Insulin Glargine

14. Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate

15. Itraconazole

16. Ivermectin

17. Lamivudine

18. Latanoprost

19. Lenalidomide

20. Leuprolide acetate

21. Meropenem

22. Montelukast

23. Mupirocin

24. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

25. Ormeloxifene (Centchroman)

26. Phenoxymethyl penicillin

27. Procaine Benzyl penicillin

28. Rotavirus vaccine

29. Tenecteplase

30. Teneligliptin

31. Tenofovir (A) + Lamivudine (B) + Dolutegravir (C)

32. Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF)

33. Terbinafine

34. Valganciclovir

List of Medicines Removed from NLEM – 2022:

1. Alteplase

2. Atenolol

3. Bleaching Powder

4. Capreomycin

5. Cetrimide

6. Chlorpheniramine

7. Diloxanide furoate

8. Dimercaprol

9. Erythromycin

10. Ethinylestradiol

11. Ethinylestradiol(A) Norethisterone (B)

12. Ganciclovir

13. Kanamycin

14. Lamivudine (A) + Nevirapine (B) + Stavudine (C)

15. Leflunomide

16. Methyldopa

17. Nicotinamide

18. Pegylated interferon alfa 2a, Pegylated interferon alfa 2b

19. Pentamidine

20. Prilocaine (A) + Lignocaine (B)

21. Procarbazine

22. Ranitidine

23. Rifabutin

24. Stavudine (A) + Lamivudine (B) 25. Sucralfate

26. White Petrolatum

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