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.
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:
3. Bendamustine Hydrochloride
5. Buprenorphine (A) + Naloxone (B)
9. Darunavir (A) + Ritonavir (B)
13. Insulin Glargine
14. Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate
20. Leuprolide acetate
24. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
25. Ormeloxifene (Centchroman)
26. Phenoxymethyl penicillin
27. Procaine Benzyl penicillin
28. Rotavirus vaccine
31. Tenofovir (A) + Lamivudine (B) + Dolutegravir (C)
32. Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF)
List of Medicines Removed from NLEM – 2022:
3. Bleaching Powder
7. Diloxanide furoate
11. Ethinylestradiol(A) Norethisterone (B)
14. Lamivudine (A) + Nevirapine (B) + Stavudine (C)
18. Pegylated interferon alfa 2a, Pegylated interferon alfa 2b
20. Prilocaine (A) + Lignocaine (B)
24. Stavudine (A) + Lamivudine (B) 25. Sucralfate
26. White Petrolatum