National List of Essential Medicines

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    • Recently, the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, was released, with 384 drugs in it across 27 categories. 
      • While 34 new drugs are on the list, 26 drugs from the earlier NLEM were dropped.

    About National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

    • It is a dynamic document and is revised on a regular basis considering the changing public health priorities as well as advancement in pharmaceutical knowledge.
    • It was first formulated in 1996 and was revised thrice in 2003, 2011 and 2015, before 2022. 
    • The NLEM independent Standing National Committee on Medicines (SNCM) was constituted by the Union Health Ministry in 2018. 
    • For inclusion in NLEM, the drugs have to be useful in treating diseases which are a public health problem in India. 
    • They have to be licensed by the DCGI, have proven efficacy, a safety profile based on scientific evidence and are cost effective.
    •  Purpose : To promote rational use of medicines considering three important aspects which are cost, safety and efficacy.
      •  It also helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget, drug procurement policies, health insurance, improving prescribing habits, medical education and training and drafting pharmaceutical policies. 
      • In NLEM, the medicines are categorised based on the level of the healthcare system as primary, secondary and tertiary.

    Source: TH