National List of Essential Medicines of India: The Way Forward
(2012; 6 pages)

Abstract

Essential medicines lists have been shown to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery when combined with proper procurement policies and good prescribing practices. The Ministry of Health, Government of India revised the National List of Essential Medicines of India (NLEMI 2011) in June 2011, eight years after the last revision. The NLEMI 2011 contains 348 medicines and was prepared over one and a half years by 87 experts. Though there are some positive aspects to the list such as the documentation of a detailed description of the revision process, inclusion of many experts from various fields in the review committee, well written description of the essential medicines concept and others, a critical review of the list reveals areas of major and minor concerns. Improper medicine selection like the inclusion of a nearly obsolete medicine such as ether, an anesthetic agent; non-inclusion of pediatric formulations; spelling errors; and errors in the strengths of formulations diminishes the significance of the NLEMI 2011. In its present form, the NLEMI 2011 did not align with the Indian Pharmacopoeia, and the National Health Programs as well as the National Formulary of India 2010. Formatting errors, non-inclusion of an index page, syntax and spelling errors may also undermine the usefulness of the NLEMI 2011 as a reference material. An urgent revision of the NLEMI 2011 is suggested so as to avert misinforming the wider international and local readers.

 
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