NLEM: Essential drugs list to be amended soon by including these products

A list of consumables and hygiene products will be compiled by the subcommittee and forwarded to another committee.

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Medicine Tablet
Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by The Health Master

Adult diapers, sanitary napkins, floor cleaners, and soap are just a few of the commonly used hygiene products that the government has started the process of finalizing and adding to the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).

In 2019, the government made the decision to expand the NLEM basket by adding health and hygiene products.

However, due to Covid-19 nothing could be finalised. The government has now asked a committee of experts to resume the meetings and shortlist these products so that they can be brought under NLEM.

Bringing them under NLEM would ensure that they are available in sufficient numbers within the health system. The committee will also see if prices of these products need to be regulated.

The committee on National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) had earlier formed sub-committees to categorize medicines, medical devices, disposables, and health and hygiene products according to how essential they are for healthcare.

A list of consumables and hygiene products will be compiled by the subcommittee and forwarded to another committee.

“Products like adult diapers and sanitary napkins must be on the list. The various aspects of hygiene products that should always be accessible in the healthcare system will be discussed by experts.

“We have to decide what kind of soap to be put under the hygiene category, whether it should be liquid, medicated. What type of gloves-simple, powdered, lubricated etc be included in the list, said a committee member, requesting anonymity.”

In contrast to those on the non-scheduled list, which is allowed a maximum annual price increase of 10%, medications and devices listed in NLEM are required to be sold at the price set by the NPPA.

The government updated the NLEM in September of last year to include several diabetes medications as well as patented antivirals used to treat HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis.

Teneligliptin, a well-known anti-diabetic medication, insulin glargine injection, and common antibiotics like meropenem and cefuroxime have all been added to the NLEM, 2022, resulting in lower prices for these items.

Manufacturers are required to sell their goods at a price that is equal to or less than the ceiling price for the medications that are listed on the NLEM.

The price is determined by simply averaging the market costs of various brands of medications with a market share of at least 1%.

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