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Times of India
11 June 2011
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India

The new list has 348 essential medicines, while old list had 354 The new list has 348 essential medicines, while old list had 354
India has finalized the country’s all new National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). It has 348 essential medicines, while the 2003 list had 354.

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr Surinder Singh told TOI that 47 dugs have been deleted from the 2003 list. However, no anti–cancer or anti–HIV drugs have been deleted. He said eight new cancer drugs have been added in NLEM 2011, aggregating the tally to 30.

Carboplatin, Chlorambucil, Daunorubicin, Filgrastim, Ifosfamide, Imatinib, Mesna and Oxaliplatin are the new cancer drugs that have been included in the list.

About 43 new medicines have been added in NLEM 2011, which are from 27 therapeutic categories. "The list has been finalized by an expert group that was formed by the Union health ministry on July 6, 2010," Dr Singh said.

A note prepared by the DCGI, available with TOI, said, "A total of 348 medicines excluding repetitions are present in NLEM 2011. In NLEM 2011, 181 medicines fall under the category of primary, secondary and tertiary use, 106 medicines fall under category of secondary and tertiary use while 61 medicines are categorized as tertiary use only. In comparison to NLEM 2003, number of medicines deleted is 47 and 43 medicines have been added."

It added, "Out of the 348 medicines, 37 medicines are currently under prices control by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority." The new list includes anti–AIDS, analgesics, anti–ulcers, anti psychotic, sedatives, anesthetic agents, lipid lowering agents, steroids and anti platelet drugs.

Dr Singh told TOI "these drugs in the MLEM are commonly used for public health programmes. Practitioners know which drugs will be required. The list is like a ready reckoner."

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