December 12, 2017
In view of alleged gross irregularities and negligence being committed by private hospitals in the country particularly in the Delhi NCR lately, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has recommended that wherever possible the Doctors shall prescribe generic drugs or medicines on the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). Generic drugs are copies of branded drugs and are cheaper substitutes of their branded counterparts.
The IMA has also requested the Government to come out with an urgent ordinance for one drug-one company-one price policy. It suggested that the Doctors shall ensure that hospitals do not sell medicines priced higher than the MRP. IMA also requested the Doctors to promote Jan Ausadhi Kendras and appealed Government to classify all disposables under both NLEM and non-NLEM categories and to cap the prices of essential ones.
The aforesaid recommendations have been issued by the IMA in the wake of Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh case, whereby the Hospital’s license was cancelled suspended by the Government on account of wrongly declaring a premature baby as dead.
What is NLEM?
As per the WHO, Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. The list is made with consideration to disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness of the medicines. Such medicines are intended to be available in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms and strengths with assured quality. They should be available in such a way that an individual or community can afford. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India prepared the NLEM 2015 which contains a total of 376 medicines.