The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) plays a major role in ensuring accessibility of affordable quality medicines at all levels of healthcare, enhancing the cost-effectivity, quality-assured medicines, and contributing towards reduction in Out-of-Pocket expenditure on healthcare for the citizens.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Essential Medicines satisfy the priority and should be available in such a way that an individual or community can afford.”
On September 13, 2022, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya released the National Lists of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022.
Dr Mandaviya said, “The Union Health Ministry is taking various steps under the vision of Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji towards Sabko Dawai, Sasti Dawai (affordable medicines for everyone). 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 give a boost to cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute towards reduction in Out-of-Pocket expenditure on healthcare for the citizens.”
The released statement cited- “384 drugs have been included in the list with addition of 34 drugs, while 26 from the previous list have been dropped. The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Health Minister asserted, “The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three major aspects – Cost, Safety and Efficacy.”
“In NLEM, all the medicines are categorised based on the level of healthcare systems as: P-Primary, S-Secondary and last T- Territory. NLEM is a dynamic document, and is revised on a regular basis, considering changing public health priorities as well as advanced knowledge in pharmaceuticals,” Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said.
The National List of Essential Medicines was first formulated in the year 1996. Before 2022, it was revised in 2003, 2011 and 2015.
While talking about the founding of the independent ‘Standing National Committee on Medicines’ (SNCM), the Health Minister stated, “It was constituted by the Union Health Ministry in 2018. The Committee after detailed consultation with experts and stakeholders has revised the NLEM, 2015 and submitted its report on NLEM, 2022 to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.”
The Core-Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India in the year 2015 under the chairmanship of Dr VM Katoch, the then Secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR) and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Dr YK Gupta, Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as the Vice Chairman.
Furthering the address, he stated- “The process of creation of NLEM depends on the feedback backed by scientific sources from stakeholders and inclusion or exclusion principle followed.”
Whilst congratulating the stakeholders for the revised NLEM, which takes the country forward in the direction of provisioning of affordable healthcare to its citizens, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, the Union Minister of State stressed, “We need to enhance awareness regarding Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), as it is emerging as a big challenge for our scientists and community, and we need to create awareness in the society about AMR”.
The 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.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan; Dr V. G. Somani, DCGI; Dr Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, Joint Secretary; Dr Y K Gupta, Vice Chairman SNCM; and other senior officials of the Ministry were present at the launch.
Here’s the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022: https://cdsco.gov.in/opencms/opencms/system/modules/CDSCO.WEB/elements/download_file_division.jsp?num_id=OTAxMQ==