India Adds New Drugs to Essential Medicines List

On September 13, India’s Union Health Ministry added 34 drugs to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and dropped 26 drugs. Newer and better anti-infectives, anti-nicotine replacements, treatments for diabetics, tuberculosis, etc. were added. Older and less effective gastrointestinal drugs and disinfectant products were dropped. The NLEM prices are determined by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). The NPPA currently regulates the prices of 384 drugs which cover about 1,000 formulations. 42 cancer drugs are on India’s NLEM list, but many new, high-priced anti-cancer drugs are not.