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Media reports on shortage of TB drugs are false: Govt

The Union Health Ministry has rubbished the media reports highlighting the shortage of drugs for tuberculosis.  

The ministry asserted that these media reports are false and misleading.

“There have been some media reports claiming a shortage of anti-TB drugs in India. Such reports are false, misleading, motivated and seem deliberately intended to deceive and misguide people,” the ministry in a statement said.

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

The ministry claimed that all these drugs are available with sufficient stocks for a time period ranging six months and above. Procurement process for these drugs for FY 2024-25 has also started already.

The ministry further said that the treatment regimen of multi drug resistant (MDR) TB consists of usually four months of 7 drugs (bedaquiline, levofloxacin, clofazimine, isoniazid, ethambutol, pyrazinamide and ethionamide) followed by five months of 4 drugs (levofloxacin, clofazimine, pyrazinamide and ethambutol). 

The ministry further stressed that in about 30% of persons with drug resistant TB, cycloserine and linezolid is required. Patients who are taking multidrug resistant TB medicines form only 2.5% of the total TB affected population. However, even for this group there is no shortage, as reported.

The ministry further said that the procurement, storage, maintenance of stock and in-time distribution of anti-TB drugs & other materials are being done at the Central level under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP). In rare situations, States are 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 further said that as such, more than 15 months stocks of Moxifloxacin 400mg and Pyridoxine are available under NTEP. Also, Delamanid 50 mg and Clofazimine 100 mg were procured in August 2023 and supplied to all states and UTs. In addition to this, P.O has been issued on 23.09.2023 for the supply of additional 8 lakh qty of Delamanid 50 mg tablets.

The ministry said that in addition to the stocks mentioned above, the purchase orders were issued for the supply of 3 FDC(P), Linezolid-600mg & Cap Cycloserine-250 mg in August 2023.  Pre-Dispatch Inspection (PDI) for 3 FDC(P), Linezolid-600mg & Cap Cycloserine-250 mg and Quality Test reports for 3 FDC(P) and Cycloserine have come. These drugs are being dispatched to the states. Release Orders are being issued from 25.09.2023 onwards.


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