National List of Essential Medicines – India

Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population. The essential medicines list needs to be country-specific addressing the disease burden of the nation and the commonly used medicines at primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare levels.

The medicines in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) should be available at affordable costs and with assured quality. The medicines used in the various national health programs, emerging and reemerging infections should be addressed in the list. The Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) is mandated to ensure the quality healthcare system by assuring the availability of safe and efficacious medicines for its population.

The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e. cost, safety, and efficacy. Furthermore, it promotes prescription by generic names. Healthcare delivery institutions, health insurance bodies, standards-setting institutions for medicines, medicine price control bodies, health economists and other healthcare stakeholders will be immensely benefitted in framing their policies.

The National list of essential medicines is one of the key instruments in a balanced healthcare delivery system of a country which inter alia includes accessible, affordable quality medicine at all the primary, secondary, tertiary levels of healthcare. Realizing this GOI, MOHFW decided to have its own essential medicines list. The first National List of Essential Medicines of India was prepared and released in 1996.

The whole list of medicines can be accessed from here.

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Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma finished his B.Sc (H) from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University in Chemistry. After that he went to England to study Masters in Polymer Material Science and Engineering from University of Manchester and consequently finished his PhD in Nuclear and Materials Chemistry from University of Manchester

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