(2016; 59 pages)
This is the sixth edition of the National Essential Medicines List coming six years after the last revision in 2010. The process adopted in this revision has largely followed the 2001 revised procedure for updating WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines. Essentially the procedure for production of this list followed the initial revision of the Standard Treatment Guidelines and extensive consultation with all stakeholders including the Public Health programmes. It is intended that prudent use of the medicines in the list will foster rational, safe and cost-effectiveness in the provision of health care.
In order to ensure more inclusiveness, comprehensiveness and use by all levels of the healthcare system, notice has been taken of a broadened scope of medicines for treatment of diseases at higher levels of care. In effect, the number of medicinal products and vaccines has increased but the restrictions in the use of medicines in the complementary section to specialists and/or programmes remain to ensure appropriate use at each level. It is the intention to make the list relevant to all health care providers and by observing the barriers set for each level the rational use of these medicines will be guaranteed. Another factor accounting for the relative increase and complexities is a more comprehensive inclusiveness of medicines used in the public health programmes, emerging diseases, rheumatology as well as in oncology. This is to satisfy the growing need for medicines in these areas which were not comprehensively addressed in the past and it is recommended that medicines in the complementary (restricted) section should be used prudently by specialists after appropriate evaluation of the patients.
Healthcare Providers at all levels are advised to limit their choice of medicines to the list so as to realize the objectives set for its use. A statutory provision exists for use of medicines outside the list and should be sought to ensure that no patient is deprived of standard and expected care.