Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population.
Essential medicines are selected with due regard to disease prevalence, evidence on efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness.
Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality, and at a price the individual and the community can afford.
The Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) is mandated to ensure the quality healthcare system by assuring availability of safe and efficacious medicines for its population.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Government of India works as the Central Drug Authority of India for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The first National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) of India was prepared and released in 1996.This list was subsequently revised in 2003 and 2011.
Salient features of NLEM 2011:
The medicines have been categorized according to therapeutic area. Therefore it is possible that a medicine with more than one indication appears in more than one category.
The issue of mentioning the strength of the medicine dose was deliberated. The committee took the considered view that the strength should be mentioned in the NLEM.
For essentiality of requirement the medicines have been categorized as follows: - P, S and T denote essentiality at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels respectively while P, S, T (U in NLEM 2003) indicates essentiality at all the levels.
A total of 348 medicines (excluding repetitions) are present in NLEM 2011.
In the NLEM 2011, 181 medicines fall under the category of P, S and T, 106 medicines fall under the category of S, T while 61 medicines are categorized as T only.
a. National lists of essential drugs (NLEM) India-2011
b. Medicine added in the NLEM 2011
c. Medicines deleted from NLEM 2011