National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)

National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)


  • Recently, the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), 2022, was released, with 384 drugs in it across 27 categories.
  • While 34 new drugs are on the list, 26 drugs from the earlier NLEM were dropped.

How are they added to the list?

  • The drugs have to be useful in treating diseases which are a public health problem in India.
  • Have to be licensed/approved by the Drugs Controller General (DCGI)
  • They have to be recommended under the National Health Programs of India

How are they deleted from the list?

  • A medicine is deleted from the list if it is banned in India.
  • If there are reports of concerns on the safety profile and if a medicine with better efficacy and is cheaper is available.
  • If the disease, for which a particular medicine is recommended, is no longer a national health concern, the drug is taken off the list.

Why do we have this list?

  • Promoting rational use of medicines considering three important aspects which are cost, safety and efficacy. 
  • National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs, based on: efficacy, safety, quality and the total cost of treatment.


  Source The Hindu