WHO Updates its Essential Medicines List, Adding Drugs for Hep C, HIV & New Antibiotics
The World Health Organization published its biennial update to its list of essential medicines, adding therapies for hepatitis C, HIV and leukemia, as well as new advice on combating antimicrobial drug resistance.
The update adds 30 medicines for adults and 25 in pediatrics, with new uses for nine previously-listed products.
The Essential Medicines List, now totaling 433 drugs, is used by many countries in decisions regarding formularies, coverage and availability. For example, Maryland’s recently passed law banning price gouging of generics includes any drug named on the WHO list.
The list’s antibiotics section separates drugs into three categories: access, watch and reserve, with recommendations on preserving the effectiveness of “last resort” antibiotics and on which drugs should be used for the most common infections. The list also includes 22 new antibiotics.