The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday published a new advisory on antibiotics for treatment of common infections including medicines for HIV, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis and Leukaemia.
These and many more were among the additions to the WHO Model list of essential medicines for 2017.
According to a press statement issued by the agency on Tuesday, the updated list adds 30 medicines for adults and 25 for children, and specifies new uses for 9 already-listed products, bringing the total to 433 drugs deemed essential for addressing the most important public health needs.
The updated Essential Medicines List (EML) also includes several new drugs, such as two oral cancer treatments, a new pill for hepatitis C that combines two medicines, a more effective treatment for HIV as well as an older drug that can be taken to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk, new paediatric formulations of medicines for tuberculosis, and pain relievers.
These medicines are:
- two oral cancer medicines (dasatinib and nilotinib) for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia that has become resistant to standard treatment. In clinical trials, one in two patients taking these medicines achieved a complete and durable remission from the disease;
- sofosbuvir + velpatasvir as the first combination therapy to treat all six types of hepatitis C (WHO is currently updating its treatment recommendations for hepatitis C);
- dolutegravir for treatment of HIV infection, in response to the most recent evidence showing the medicine’s safety, efficacy, and high barrier to resistance;
- pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with tenofovir alone, or in combination with emtricitabine or lamivudine, to prevent HIV infection;
- delamanid for the treatment of children and adolescents with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and clofazimine for children and adults with MDR-TB;
- child-friendly fixed-dose combination formulations of isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide for treating paediatric tuberculosis; and
- fentanyl skin patches and methadone for pain relief in cancer patients with the aim of increasing access to medicines for end-of-life care.
The WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) is used by many countries to increase access to medicines and guide decisions about which products they ensure are available for their populations.
“Safe and effective medicines are an essential part of any health system,” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.
“Making sure all people can access the medicines they need, when and where they need them, is vital to countries’ progress towards universal health coverage.”