Essential medicines for cardiovascular diseases in India: Rapid appraisal of policies and processes at the subnational level

Ankur Garg, Adrianna Murphy, Ashish Krishna, Swagata Kumar Sahoo, Mark D. Huffman, Sandeep P. Kishore, Roopa Shivashankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and response to health systems vary widely at the subnational level in India. Our study aimed to assess the variation in state-level access to medicines for CVDs by comparing the essential medicines lists (EMLs) at the national and subnational levels in India and by rapid appraisal of the existing policies and processes of drug procurement. Methods We assessed the inclusion of six classes of medicines for CVDs in the recent and publicly available national and subnational EMLs from July to September 2018 in the states of Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. We examined the drug procurement and distribution policies and processes using documentary review and five key informant interviews between March and June 2018. Results The WHO's EML, India's national EML, and 21 of 28 publicly available (75%) Indian state and Union Territory EMLs included all six classes of essential medicines for CVDs. However, some medicines were not included in the policy packages of essential medicines meant for primary health centres. Both the states used centralized tendering and decentralized distribution as part of the public sector drug procurement process. The requirement was based on the previous year's consumption. The approximate time between procurement planning and distribution was 7-8 months in both the states. Conclusion Substantial variation exists in the selection of drugs for CVDs in EMLs at the subnational level in India. Improving forecasting techniques for requirement of medicines and reducing time lags between forecasting and distribution to health facilities may allow for better access to essential medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalNational Medical Journal of India
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


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