Essential Medicines

The News

During the introduction of the National Lists of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, spoke about the significance of NLEM

34 new medications have been added to the list of 384, while 26 pharmaceuticals from the previous list have been removed. 27 therapeutic categories have been used to group the medications.

Speaking at the event, Union Health Minister said that "essential medications" are those that meet the most pressing medical needs in terms of effectiveness, safety, quality, and overall cost of care.

The main goal of NLEM is to encourage the sensible use of medications while taking into account its three key components, namely cost, safety, and efficacy.

Additionally, it aids in developing pharmaceutical policies, drug procurement policies, health insurance, bettering prescribing practises, medical education and training for UG/PG students, and the most effective use of healthcare resources and budget.

According to the NLEM, medications are divided into three categories: P for primary care, S for secondary care, and T for tertiary care.


To promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects — cost, safety and efficacy.

Improved prescribing practises, health insurance, medication procurement policies, medical education, and the creation of pharmaceutical policies can all be helped.

Essential Medicines

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines essential drugs as those that "satisfy the priority health care needs of the population."

People should always have access to adequate supplies of these drugs.

Prices ought to be generally within reach.

The WHO has issued a sample list of necessary medications every year since 1977. The WHO first presented the idea of essential medications in 1977, and since then, other nations, non-governmental organisations, and international non-profit supply agencies have embraced it.

India’s National List of Essential Medicine (NLEM)

The list includes 384 different medications in total.

From the previous list, twenty-six have been removed.

27 therapeutic categories have been used to group the medications.

The first NLEM was created in 1996, and it underwent three revisions in 2003, 2011 and 2015.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority controls the prices of the pharmaceuticals in the NLEM, which fall within the schedule category.

An official from the Health Ministry claims that medicines that are prohibited in India and those with safety profile reports have been removed from the NLEM.

If medications with improved efficacy or a better safety profile and cost-effectiveness become available, such medications are also removed from the list.

Additionally, a disease burden is removed from the NLEM if it is no longer a public health concern for which a treatment is indicated.

If the resistance pattern has rendered antimicrobials ineffective, the medications are removed from the list.

The new list includes four medications that are still protected by patent: bedaquiline, delamind, dolutegravir, which is used to treat HIV infection, and daclatasvir, which is used to treat viral infections like hepatitis C. These medications are used to treat tuberculosis that is resistant to multiple drugs.


Source: PIB

Posted by V.P.Nimbalkar on 14th Sep 2022