The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister has released the National List of Essential Medicines.



384 drugs have been included in the list with addition of 34 drugs, while 26 from the previous list have been dropped. The medicines have been categorised into 27 therapeutic categories.


National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

  • Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population.
  • The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering the three important aspects i.e., cost, safety and efficacy.
  • The medicines in NLEM should be available at affordable costs and with assured quality.
  • The first National List of Essential Medicines of India was prepared and released in 1996.
  • Under the last NLEM 2015, a total 376 drugs are under price control. The revision in the NLEM every five years was delayed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Issued by — Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • It is based on World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Model List of Essential Drugs.


About National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority –

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), is an independent body of experts under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, formed in the year 1997 so as to implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO) for regulating medicine prices in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • NPPA is delegated with the powers to exercise the functions of the Central Government in respect of various paragraphs of the Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) – DPCO, 1995 and now DPCO, 2013.
  • The functions of NPPA include fixation and revision of prices of scheduled drugs (those medicines included in Schedule I of the DPCO which are subject to price control) and formulations, Monitoring of prices of decontrolled drugs and formulations, Implementation and enforcement of the provisions of DPCO in accordance with the powers delegated, Monitoring the availability of drugs, identify shortages, taking remedial steps, etc.
  • The organisation is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.
  • All the powers of Government of pricing according to Essential Commodities Act have been delegated to it. Under DPCO, 2013 the powers to Review are vested with the Government.