World Health Organisation (WHO) recently updated its Model Lists of Essential Medicines and Essential Medicines for Children, including new cancer treatments and diabetes medicines.
Insulin was discovered as a treatment for diabetes 100 years ago, and human insulin has been on WHO’s List of Essential Medicines since it was first published in 1977. Unfortunately, limited insulin supply and high prices in several low- and middle-income countries are currently a major barrier to treatment.
Long-acting insulin analogues provide patients with additional clinical benefits by allowing long-term blood glucose control without requiring a booster dosage. They are beneficial for people who have dangerously low blood glucose levels while using human insulin. In addition, flexibility in timing and dose of insulin analogues has increased patients’ quality of life. However, human insulin is still used to treat diabetes, and its availability and pricing must be improved.
Breakthroughs have been made in cancer treatment in the last years, such as medicines that target specific molecular characteristics of the tumour, some of which offer much better outcomes than “traditional” chemotherapy for many types of cancer.
Four new medicines for cancer treatment were added to the Model Lists. The listing for imatinib was extended to include targeted treatment of leukaemia. In addition, new childhood cancer indications were added for 16 medicines already listed, including low-grade glioma, the most common form of a brain tumour in children.
The lists attempt to address global health priorities by identifying the most beneficial medicines available and affordable to all.
Source: World Health Organisation