Essential Drugs have been defined as those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population. They should therefore be available at all times in adequate amounts and in appropriate dosage forms at all levels of the health care delivery system of the country.
The Essential Drugs Programme of the Federal Republic of Nigeria came on stream in 1988 and received legal backing when in 1989 Decree 43 was promulgated. That same year the first Revision was published. The second revision soon followed in 1991 and the third in 1996.
The programme and its legal instrument came under severe criticism by the Drug Manufacturing/Distribution concerns as well as several health practitioners for obvious reasons as the impression was created that whatever drug was not included in the list could neither be imported nor used legally.