Tuberculosis

TB Online – What’s new in the TB section of the 2021 WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines

24 November 2021 | Geneva — The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 2021 Model Lists of Essential Medicines feature key updates to the TB section including the addition of moxifloxacin and rifapentine for the indication of drug susceptible TB, child friendly formulations of bedaquiline and delamanid to treat drug resistant TB and a higher dose formulation of rifapentine for TB preventive treatment. Further updates include the addition of other TB medicines to the list as well as the removal of some TB medicines that are no longer considered essential. The revised list provides a comprehensive list of quality assured TB medicines for TB preventive treatment as well as for the treatment of drug susceptible and drug resistant TB. 

Essential medicines are those which satisfy the priority health care needs of a population, including the treatment and prevention of TB. WHO recommends that essential medicines are available in health systems at all times, in appropriate dosage forms, of assured quality and at prices that individuals and health systems can afford.

WHO publishes the Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) and Model List of Essential Medicines for Children (EMLc) and updates them every two years. The medicines on the lists are selected based on disease prevalence, public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and safety, and cost-effectiveness. The WHO Model Lists guide the development and updating of national essential medicines lists, in accordance with local priorities and treatment guidelines. In 2020, WHO published guidance on how to use the Model List to update a national EML.

In early 2021, the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme, proposed changes to the EML based on its latest recommendations and the current availability of TB medicines. WHO released the latest WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (22nd list) and Model List of Essential Medicines for Children (8th list) in October 2021. The Model Lists are available online, including an easy-to-access, digital version.

A summary of the updates to section 6.2.5 Antituberculosis medicines of the 2021 WHO EMLs and the rationale behind those updates can be found here.

“National TB programmes and technical partners are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the updates to WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. ”We need to join forces to promote ongoing access to quality-assured TB medicines for the benefit of people with TB in countries”.

Source: WHO

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