In July 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved an application submitted by Mount Sinai physicians, Dr Craig Katz, Dr Anna Rosen, and Dr Hiwot Woldu, and medical student Jasleen Salwan to add risperidone to the Essential Medicines List. Initiated in 1977 and updated every 2 years based on applications for revisions submitted by parties outside WHO, the list guides drug policy in developing nations around the world. Although it is not binding, it helps government officials as well as external donors set funding priorities.
WHO’s approval of the Mount Sinai team’s application marked the first addition of an atypical antipsychotic to the list, addressing a major neglected area of global health. It is hoped that it will be followed by many more victories for underserved psychiatric patients across the globe.