World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a model Essential Medicine Lists (EML) in a new advice on useful antibiotics for common infections.
According to WHO , other additions include medicine for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and leukaemia.
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 WHO EML is used by many countries to increase access to medicine.
Dr Marie-Paule Kirby, WHO Assistant Direction-General for Health Systems and Innovation, said “Safe and effective medicines are an essential part of any health system.”
“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,”she added.
WHO experts have grouped antibiotics into three categories – ACCESS, WATCH and RESERVE – with recommendations on when each category should be used.
Initially, the new categories will only apply to antibiotics used to treat 21 of the most common general infections. If shown to be useful, it could be broadened in future versions of the EML to apply to drugs which could be used to treat other infections.
WHO experts have also added 10 antibiotics to the list for adults and 12 for children.
Dr Suzanne Hill, Director of Essential Medicines and Health Products, said “the rise in antibiotic resistance stems from how we are using – and misusing – these medicines.”
“The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.”
The updated 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 among others.