Centre cuts prices of anti-cancer and other essential drugs: Here are they | India News


NEW DELHI: Several anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, anti-infectives and vaccines are among 34 new additions to the National List of Essential Medicines (NELM), which will make them more affordable, bringing them under a price cap. With the new additions, the National List of Essential Medicines now has a total of 384 drugs.
However, 26 drugs such as Ranitidine, Sucralfate, white petrolatum, Atenolol and Methyldopa have been deleted from the revised list on the basis of the parameters of cost effectiveness and availability of better drugs.
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.
The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories. Here are a few of them:
Anti-cancer drugs: The anti-cancer drugs added to the list are Bendamustine Hydrochloride, Irinotecan HCI Trihydrate, Lenalidomide and Leuprolide acetate.
Endocrine medicines and contraceptives: Fludrocortisone, Ormeloxifene, Insulin Glargine and Teneligliptin have been put in the list. According to National Library of Medicine (NLM), Fludrocortisone is used to help control the amount of sodium and fluids in your body. “It is used to treat Addison’s disease and syndromes where excessive amounts of sodium are lost in the urine,” says NLM. Ormeloxifene is used as an oral contraceptive. According to NLM, recent studies have shown its potent anti-cancer activities in breast, head and neck, and chronic myeloid leukemia cells. Teneligliptin is a drug for the treatment of type-2 diabetes mellitus.
Montelukast: Montelukast acts on the respiratory tract. According to NLM, it is used to prevent wheezing, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and coughing caused by asthma in adults and children one year of age and older.
Ophthalmological drug Latanoprost: Latanoprost treats high pressure inside the eye, which can damage optic nerve and cause vision loss or blindness.
Cardiovascular medicinesDabigatran and Tenecteplase: According to NLM, Dabigatran is used to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot, usually in the leg, and pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot in the lung, in adults and children 3 months of age and older who have been treated with an injectable anticoagulant or “blood thinner”. Tenecteplase is an enzyme used as a thrombolytic drug.
Anti-infectives: Anti-infectives are medicines that prevent or treat infections, including bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic. Ivermectin, Meropenem, Cefuroxime, Amikacin, Bedaquiline, Delamanid, Itraconazole ABC Dolutegravir and Mupirocin are among the anti-invectives that have been added to the NLM. Ivermectin was even part of Accelerated Plan for Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in 2018.
The following criteria are followed for inclusion in NLEM:

  1. Usefulness in diseases, which are a public health problem in India
  2. Licensed/approved by Drugs Controller General (India)
  3. Have proven efficacy and safety profile based on scientific evidence
  4. Be comparatively cost effective
  5. Be aligned with the current treatment guidelines
  6. Recommended under National Health Programmes of India
  7. Best suited medicine when more than one are available from the same therapeutic class
  8. Price of total treatment
  9. Fixed dose combinations are usually not included
  10. Vaccines as and when included in Universal Immunization Program like Rotavirus dose
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