The World Health Organization has released a new advisory on antibiotics for treatment of common infections and which to preserve for the most serious circumstances. A press statement by the agency on Tuesday said the updated list adds 30 medicines for adults and 25 for children. The list also specifies new uses for nine already-listed products, bringing to 433 the number of drugs deemed essential for addressing the most important public health needs. The new addition to the WHO model list of essential medicines for 2017 includes medicine for HIV, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis and Leukaemia. The WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) is used by many countries to increase access to medicines and guide decisions about which products are available for their populations. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, said safe and effective medicines are an essential part of any health system; and ensuring people are able to access the medicines they need, when and where they need them, is vital to countries’ progress towards universal health coverage. This year’s antibiotics revision is said to be the biggest revision of the antibiotics section in the EML’s 40-year history. The WHO Model list of essential medicines was launched in 1977, coinciding with the endorsement by governments at the World Health Assembly of “Health for all” as the guiding principle for WHO and countries’ health policies. Many countries have adopted the concept of essential medicines and have developed lists of their own, using the EML as a guide. It is updated and revised every two years by the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines.

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