Schwabe News Volume 4 | Issue 4 & 5 | April & May 2013
To overcome the problem of availability of AYUSH medicines in the public health system and facilitate the state and central authorities for smooth procurement of medicines, the department of AYUSH has issued essential drugs list (EDL) of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy medicines. There are 277 essential medicines in EDL of Ayurveda, 257 medicines in Homoeopathy, 302 medicines in Siddha and 288 essential medicines in Unani system of medicine. The EDL will act as a guiding tool for the procurement agencies to fulfill the supply of ayurvedic medicines in dispensaries, hospitals and co-located Ayurveda facilities in PHCs, CHCs and district hospitals. It is expected to ease the accessibility of medicines in health facilities and streamline the management of medicinal supplies with meaningful use of resources in the central and state organizations.
The concept of essential medicines is forward-looking and important from the perspective of universal health coverage in meeting health needs of the people. Therefore, updating of EDL at regular intervals is essentially required to reflect various therapeutic options in accordance with the therapeutic needs of the populations due to varied prevalence of diseases and changing health seeking behaviour. Earlier, the AYUSH department had undertaken a year-long exercise to review the lists of essential Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic (ASU&H) drugs published in the year 2000 and in the process interacted with various stakeholders, including representatives from the fraternity of in-service practitioners, AYUSH Officers and procurement authorities from central and state government organisations. Comprehensive Essential ASU&H drug lists presently drawn with cross sectional consultation take in to account pharmacopoeias, formularies and regional preferences for certain medicines and offer wide choice for need-based selection of generic medicines.
AYUSH Essential Drug Lists were last formulated in the year 2000 and their updating was overdue considering the developments that took place in the last six to seven years with the mainstreaming of AYUSH under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and provision of central government’s support to the states for strengthening AYUSH health services. The exercise for updating the EDLs was therefore taken up with a view to formulate practitioners’ preference based lists of such Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy medicines as are documented in the authoritative books and pharmacopoeias and formularies. Relying on EDL-based procurement of medicines has the benefit of objective, transparent and need-based selection of medicines and optimal use of financial resources for health coverage. Inconsistencies in drug procurement can be easily curbed with reliance on EDLs leading to proper management of supplies and increased public confidence in health services. Schwabe India medicines are procured by Government dispensaries to make them available to the Government employees and general public.
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