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Lucentis excluded from WHO list of essential medicines

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2573 (Published 13 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2573
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1The BMJ

The World Health Organization has rejected an application by Novartis to include ranibizumab (Lucentis) for neovascular eye diseases in the most recent update of its essential medicines list.1 The agency has, however, included “groundbreaking” new treatments for hepatitis C, a variety of cancers (including breast cancer and leukaemia), and multidrug resistant tuberculosis, among others.

Every two years a WHO expert committee meets to decide what should be included on the list, to provide guidance to countries about the “prioritization of medicines from a clinical and public health perspective.” The list was set up in 1977, and anyone can make an application for the inclusion of a drug.

In November last year Novartis wrote to WHO to …

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