WHO Essential Medicines List: Three new cancer medicines approved

UICC again supported WHO in the development of proposals for cancer-related additions to the WHO Model Essential Medicines List (EML).

Three new medicines were approved:

  • The Expert Committee recommended the addition of dasatinib and nilotinib to the complementary list of the EML for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia that is resistant to imatinib (i.e. second-line therapy).
  • The Expert Committee did not recommend listing for other proposed cancer medicines: enzalutamide for metastatic breast cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitors (erlotinib, gefitinib and afatinib) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK-) inhibitor (crizotinib) for non-small cell lung cancer; trastuzumab emtansine for metastatic breast cancer. The Committee considered that listing of these medicines was premature and recommended the establishment of an EML cancer medicines working group to coordinate comprehensive evaluation of cancer medicines for the EML.
  • The Expert Committee recommended the formation of expert working groups to support future work for EML reviews and applications. Specifically, a working group for cancer medicines to define criteria and thresholds for prioritization of medicines was recommended.
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