No shortage of anti-TB drugs in India: Health Ministry

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The Union health ministry on Tuesday said there is no shortage of anti-TB drugs in India, asserting all these medicines are available with sufficient stocks ranging six months and above. 

 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 multi drug 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 pc 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 utilizing 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.