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Department Of Health - Essential Drugs Programme

Essential Drugs Programme

Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population 1. In order to guide the rational use of these essential medicines, Standard Treatment Guidelines(STGs) have been developed. The National Essential Medicines List Committee (NEMLC), appointed by the Minister of Health, is responsible for formulating and revising the National List of Essential Medicines. The Technical Expert Review Sub-Committees of the NEMLC for Primary, Secondary and Tertiary level of care conduct the review This process for the of the STGs and EML taking into consideration clinical need, evidence of efficacy, quality, safety, affordability and implications for practice. This process for review of the STGs and EML is managed and implemented by the Essential Drugs Programme (EDP) which is a sub-directorate of the Affordable Medicines Directorate.

Affordable Medicines - Organogram

By leveraging innovative technology, the EDP has moved from a solely paper-based system to a mobile application to improve access to and support implementation of the STGs and EML at all levels of care. The EDP is also responsible for the implementation of the National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy and co-ordinates the work of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AMR.

1 World Health Organisation. Essential Medicines. Available at

(accessed 22 September 2015)

Contact details:

Essential Drugs Programme: South Africa Directorate: Affordable Medicines Email Address
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Private Bag X828
Pretoria 0001

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