Challenges to rational prescribing and use of essential medicines in India

Biswa Mohan Padhy


The concept of essential medicines was introduced in 1977 with the publication of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines. These medicines are intended to satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. They are selected with regard to public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness. Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality and at a price the individual and the community can afford. The WHO advises countries to adapt the essential medicines list according to their priority health care needs. The model list of WHO serves as a guide for the development of a national list of essential medicines (NLEM). An essential medicines list can serve as a model for procurement, local licensing and manufacturing, and the rational use of good-quality medicines, especially within the public sector. It also helps in allocating limited resources effectively and in a cost-effective manner.


Essential Medicines, WHO, India, NLEM

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