WHO Model List of Essential Drugs
Review of summary statements on reasons for inclusion of essential drugs and underlying evidence
The following three files contain short statements as to why individual drugs are on the WHO Essential Drug List. For those placed on the first Essential Drug List (1977) statements have been constructed. The remaining rationales use comments taken from the Technical Report Series when drugs were substituted or added to the list.
This review has been prepared for EDM/PAR by Phil Wiffen, Regional Pharmaceutical Adviser, SEARO, and Co-ordinating Editor PaPaS Cochrane Group, Oxford, UK.
Included in the files is a column showing a preliminary assessment on availability of evidence to support recommendation of an individual drug.
Explanatory notes on the list (from Technical Report Series 895)
Many drugs are included in the list are preceded by a * to indicate that they represent an example of a therapeutic group and that various drugs could serve as alternatives. It is imperative that this is understood when drugs are selected at a national level, since choice is then influenced by the comparative cost and availability of equivalent products.
Numbers in parentheses following the drug names indicate:
Letters in parentheses after the drug names indicate the reasons for the inclusion of complementary drugs:
Explanatory notes on the evidence and comments columns
+It can be assumed that drugs were on the original EDL (EDL1) unless there is a later reference to a subsequent EDL list.
++ level of evidence used.
CE6 refers to Clinical Evidence Issue 6 December 2001. SR - systematic review, RCT -randomised controlled trial.
Cochrane Library: 2002 Issue 1.
DARE database of abstracts of reviews from National Health Service (NHS) centre in York England published on their website (http://nhscrd.york.ac.uk/) and the Cochrane Library:
ADR- Adverse drug effect
AE- adverse effects.
Comment. The review of evidence is minimal but gives an indication of what is available. Some sections such as section 8 where drugs are used for a number of indications need a thorough work up beyond the scope of this first review. Other areas need to be linked to WHO guidelines which are also being reviewed in the light of available evidence.
See also the Essential Medicines Library