No shortage of anti-Tuberculosis drugs in India, asserts Health Ministry

Health Ministry termed as “vague and ill-informed” media reports alleging shortage of anti-TB drugs in India

September 26, 2023 04:45 pm | Updated September 27, 2023 10:16 am IST - New Delhi

Reports of anti-Tuberculosis medicine shortages are misleading, says Health Ministry. File

Reports of anti-Tuberculosis medicine shortages are misleading, says Health Ministry. File | Photo Credit: AFP

New Delhi

The Union Health Ministry on September 25 said there is no shortage of anti-Tuberculosis drugs in India, asserting all these medicines are available with sufficient stocks ranging six months and above.

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It also termed as “vague and ill-informed” media reports alleging shortage of anti-TB drugs in India and questioning the effectiveness of such drugs under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP). Such reports are vague and ill-informed, without any specific information on the availability of anti-TB medicines in stock, the Ministry said in a statement.

The treatment of drug sensitive tuberculosis consists of two months of four drugs available as 4 FDC (Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide) followed by two months of three drugs available as 3 FDC (Isoniazid, Rifampicin and Ethambutol).

“All these drugs are available with sufficient stocks ranging six months and above,” the Ministry said in the statement.

The treatment regimen of multidrug-resistant TB consists of usually four months of seven drugs (bedaquiline, levofloxacin, clofazimine, isoniazid, ethambutol, pyrazinamide and ethionamide) followed by five months of 4 drugs (levofloxacin, clofazimine, pyrazinamide and ethambutol). In about 30% of persons with drug-resistant TB, cycloserine and linezolid is required.

“Procurement, storage, maintenance of stock and in-time distribution of anti-TB drugs and other materials are being done at the Central level under NTEP. In rare situations, states were requested to procure few drugs locally for a limited period by utilising the budget under National Health Mission [NHM] so that individual patient care is not affected,” the Ministry said.

“Maharashtra has already procured Cycloserine tablets centrally. Few States have delegated procurement to districts; accordingly, districts have procured wherever there is requirement,” it added.

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