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Essential Meds

The World Health Organization has updated its list of essential medicines, Reuters reports, noting that immunotherapies for lung cancer have been left off.

The WHO added more than two dozen treatments to its list, which includes medications it thinks should be available to and affordable for people everywhere.

Nicola Magrini, secretary of the WHO's expert committee on selection and use of essential medicines, tells Reuters that there were 65 applications to add drugs to the list, of which a third did not make the cut.

As Reuters reports, the agency did not add the PD1 or PD-L1 inhibitors pembrolizumab (Merck's Keytruda), nivolumab (Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo), or atezolizumab (Roche's Tecentriq) for small-cell lung cancer. "The Committee considered that their place in therapy for this condition is still evolving and that more data with longer follow-up are needed to better demonstrate estimates of their actual magnitude of benefit," the WHO says in its report.

Pembrolizumab and nivolumab were recommended, though, for advanced melanoma, Reuters notes.

The WHO additionally published a new list of essential in vitro diagnostics, as 360Dx also reports.

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