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National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

In News 

  • The new National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) has now been brought under the Drug Prices Control Order, which fixes ceiling prices for these essential formulations based on average cost to retailers.

About National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

  • It 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. 
  • The first National List of Essential Medicines of India was prepared and released in 1996. 
  • It focuses on three aspects – cost, safety and efficacy.
    •  It comprised 384 drugs across 27 categories.
  • Purpose : The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e., cost, safety and efficacy. 
    • It also helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget; drug procurement policies, health insurance; improving prescribing habits; medical education and training  for UG/PG; and drafting pharmaceutical policies.
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