Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya released a revised National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) on Tuesday, which excludes 384 drugs from 27 categories, including ranitidine, which is commonly used to treat acid reflux and other stomach problems and is sold under brand names such as Rantac, Zinetac, and Aciloc, but has been removed due to cancer-causing concerns.

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled all ranitidine products (injectable and oral) in 2020 after the discovery of low-level N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) presence. N-Nitrosamines are linked to stomach, esophageal, nasopharynx, and bladder cancers.

As many as 34 medications, including anti-infectives such as ivermectin, mupirocin, and nicotine replacement treatment, have been added to the NLEM, bringing the total number of drugs covered by it to 384. According to sources, the following endocrine medications and contraceptives have been added to the list: fludrocortisone, ormeloxifene, insulin glargine, and teneliglitin. The list also includes the respiratory medicine Montelukast and the ophthalmological drug Latanoprost.

According to the report, cardiovascular medications Dabigatran and Tenecteplase are also included. In addition, the health minister put a price cap on regularly used pharmaceuticals and stated that several antibiotics, vaccinations, and anti-cancer drugs would now be “more inexpensive and accessible” in order to “lower patients’ out-of-pocket expenditure.”

“The National List of Essential Medicines is being published today. Based on that… the National Pharma Pricing Authority will set its ceiling price… it is also based on this that it is decided no company increases the price (of essential medicines) on its own. It’s a very long process. All the work is done by an independent committee. Interacted with more than 350 experts and 140 consultations,” Mandaviya said on the new NLEM.

Drugs List

This is the complete list of drugs that have been withdrawn from the NLEM 2022:

Alteplase, Atenolol, Bleaching Powder, Capreomycin,Cetrimide, Chlorpheniramine,Diloxanide furoate, Dimercaprol, Erythromycin, Ethinylestradiol,Ethinylestradiol(A) + Norethisterone (B), Ganciclovir, Kanamycin, Lamivudine (A) + Nevirapine (B) + Stavudine (C), Leflunomide, Methyldopa, Nicotinamide, Pegylated interferon alfa 2a, Pegylated interferon alfa 2b, Pentamidine,Prilocaine (A) + Lignocaine (B), Procarbazine, Ranitidine, Rifabutin, Stavudine (A) + Lamivudine (B), Sucralfate,White Petrolatum

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