Refuting charges of any shortage of antiretroviral drugs (ARV), official sources have said that there is adequate stock nationally for around 95 percent of ‘People Living with HIV’ (PLHIV) who are on first and second line ARV regimens in the country.
“Individual antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres may have this issue at times, but the medicines are immediately relocated from nearby centres,’’ said a Health Ministry source. He added that there is adequate stock nationally for around 95% PLHIV in the country who are on 1st & 2nd line ARV regimens like Tablet TLD (Tenofovir+ Lamivudine+ Dolutegravir) and other ARV regimens.
“There is no reported stock out for any ARV drugs at the State level and the fresh supply orders for procurement of the next lot of several drugs are already placed,” said the source.
The Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) has been requested to supply the first lot of the drugs at the earliest to ensure that before the present stock runs out, the fresh lot of drugs would have been received, the official source added.
Free medicines for over 14.5 lakh PLHIV
India is one of the very few countries that provides free anti-retroviral medicines for life-long treatment of more than 14.5 lakh PLHIV through 680 antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres under its National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), which is fully funded by the Government of India. National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) centrally procures ARV medicines for PLHIV as per national guidelines.
A group of HIV patients has been protesting against shortage of antiretroviral drugs. Sources said that the protestors have been informed about the position regarding drug availability and they were told to jointly work with State AIDS control societies and NACO for the availability of drugs at those few ART centres running short on supplies temporarily.
“The mainstay of treatment for more than 85 per cent PLHIV is Tablet TLD (a fixed-dose combination of three antiretroviral drugs, namely, Tenofovir (300mg)+Lamivudine (300mg) plus Dolutegravir (50mg), for which there is sufficient stock nationally to last more than 3 months,” the source said.
Tablet Dolutegravir (DTG)-50mg is required for around 50,000 PLHIV who are either on Alternate-1st/2nd or 3rd-line regimens, or those with TB co-infection, it said.