Key cancer drugs, antibiotics set to become cheaper | India News

NEW DELHI: Several anti-cancer drugs, anti-infectives, antibiotics and vaccines will be come more affordable as they are among the 34 new additions to the National List of Essential Medicines which bring them under a price cap.
The anti-cancer drugs added to the list are Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide and Leuprolide acetate. Other new additions include anti-infectives like Amikacin, Mupirocin, Meropenem and Ivermectin.
Inclusion of a drug in the NLEM mandates that it is sold at prices fixed by the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA). Sources said NPPA will meet soon to decide on the prices of the new additions to the NLEM.
However, 26 drugs such as Ranitidine, Sucralfate, white petrolatum, Atenolol and Methyldopa have been dropped from the revised list.
Dr Y K Gupta, vice chairman of the Standing National Committee on Medicines, said the deletion has been done based on the parameters of cost effectiveness and availability of better drugs. “The total number of drugs included in the NLEM is 384 now, up from 376 in 2015,” he said.
According to Dr Gupta, it took several months of extensive consultation with stakeholders, including the academia and industry to finalise the new NLEM.
Endocrine medicines and contraceptives Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine and Teneliglitin, and psychotherapeutic medicines — Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Buprenorphine — have also been added to the list. Montelukast, which acts on the respiratory track, and ophthalmological drug Latanoprost figure in the list. Cardiovascular medicines Dabigatran and Tenecteplase also find place in the list besides medicines used in palliative care.
Health minister Manuskh Mandaviya said, “Our ministry is taking various steps under the vision of PM Narendra Modi towards ‘Sabko Dawai, Sasti Dawai’. NLEM is a step in the same direction. It will play an important role in ensuring accessibility of affordable quality medicines. This will give a boost to cost-effective, quality medicines and contribute towards reduction in ‘out of pocket’ expenditure on healthcare for the citizens.”
NLEM is revised on a regular basis considering the changing public health priorities as well as advancement in pharmaceutical industry.

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