De­vices, dis­pos­ables & con­sum­ables may en­ter es­sen­tial medicines list

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The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - To­tal sales

Mum­bai: In good news for pa­tients, the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to re­struc­ture the Na­tional List of Es­sen­tial Medicines (NLEM) with the ob­jec­tive to make it more con­tem­po­rary, and in line with pub­lic health needs. For this pur­pose, the gov­ern­ment will con­sti­tute a ‘Stand­ing Na­tional Com­mit­tee on Medicines’ in­volv­ing sci­en­tists, doc­tors and ex­perts to “re­view and re­vise” the NLEM, and may also in­clude med­i­cal de­vices, dis­pos­ables and con­sum­ables to the list, of­fi­cial sources told TOI.

Only car­diac stents from med­i­cal de­vices were in­cluded in the NLEM in 2016, fol­low­ing a court or­der.

The de­vel­op­ment as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as the Na­tional List typ­i­cally forms the ba­sis of price caps ex­tended on es­sen­tial medicines by the drug prices reg­u­la­tor, as was done in the last re­vi­sion.

Also, this time round, a stand­ing com­mit­tee with a three-year term has been con­sti­tuted and will meet ev­ery six months to take stock and may also in­cor­po­rate changes in the es­sen­tial list.

With med­i­cal sci­ence evolv­ing each day, there was a need for a com­mit­tee which can take stock and have a longer ten­ure, the of­fi­cial added.

NLEM was last re­vised in 2015 by a one-time com­mit­tee formed by the health min­istry. The list was ex­panded to 384 drugs from the ex­ist­ing 348, af­ter which ceil­ing prices were fixed by NPPA the fol­low­ing year.

In the last ex­er­cise, though drugs for crit­i­cal ill­nesses like cancer, HIV and di­a­betes were added, many ther­a­pies were still miss­ing.

The present ex­er­cise is ex­pected to make the list more rel­e­vant and broad­based with inputs taken from World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion and In­dian Phar­ma­copoeia, and add drugs in­cluded in the na­tional health pro­grammes.

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