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Health ministry to conduct first stakeholders meet for revision of NLEM 2015 on July 25

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Union health ministry would be conducting the first stakeholders meet of standing national committee on medicine (SNCM) for revision of National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM 2015) on July 25, 2019. The meeting would be conducted at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi.

There were 348 medicines listed in NLEM 2011. A total of 106 medicines have been added and 70 medicines have been deleted to prepare NLEM 2015 which now contains a total of 376 medicines.

The meet will provide a forum for dialogue with pharmaceutical associations, NGO’s and industry representatives to seek recommendations and comments on oncology drugs, cardiology drugs besides suggestions on addition of Penicillin preparations in NLEM- 2015 and also deliberations on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Medicines in NLEM are listed with reference to the levels of healthcare, namely, Primary (P), Secondary (S) and Tertiary (T).

There are 209 medicine formulations listed for all levels of health care (P, S, T), 115 medicine formulations for secondary and tertiary levels (S, T) and 79 medicine formulations for the tertiary level (T).

It is to be noted that formulations of certain medicines are listed at different levels but as item, they are counted as one. The total number of medicines remains 376.

The essentiality of a medicine has been considered in terms of its dosage form and strength also.

The NLEM 2015 has been prepared adhering to the basic principles of efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness and consideration of diseases as public health problems in India. The list could be called as a Best-Fit List.

According to official reports, patients saved Rs. 2,422 crore under NLEM 2011 from May 2013 to February 2016.

Further, a saving of Rs. 2,644 crore was made under NLEM 2015 from March 2016 till date. Patients saved Rs. 350 crore in cardiovascular and anti-diabetic medicines.

After bringing coronary stents and knee implants under NLEM, patients saved Rs. 4,547 crore and Rs. 1,500 crore respectively. Moreover, patients have also saved Rs. 984 crore for anti-cancer drugs.

National drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixed the ceiling prices of 530 scheduled formulations after inclusion of NLEM, 2011 in the Schedule-I of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

Schedule-I of DPCO, 2013 was amended by adopting NLEM, 2015. Accordingly, NPPA fixed the ceiling prices of 857 scheduled formulations.

The ceiling prices of coronary stent were notified in February, 2017 resulting into reduction in price up to 85 per cent. NPPA has also fixed the ceiling prices of the orthopaedic knee implants in August, 2017 under para 19 of DPCO, 2013, resulting in reduction of price up to 69 per cent.

NPPA since its inception in August, 1997 till May, 2019 has issued demand notices to 2,033 pharmaceutical companies for overcharging, as per official reports.


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