Shortage Of TB Medicines: Patients Rely On Double Dose Of Paediatric Medicines To Fight Tuberculosis

Shortage Of TB Medicines: Patients Rely On Double Dose Of Paediatric Medicines To Fight Tuberculosis

Drug shortage puts treatment of 2700 TB patients in a limbo. Health officials prescribe double dose of paediatric medicines to adults to maintain regular medication intake.

Tarun TiwariUpdated: Wednesday, May 08, 2024, 12:06 AM IST
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Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Acute shortage of regular medicines has forced more than 2,700 patients in Indore to turn to paediatric medicines’ double dose to fight tuberculosis.

The scarcity is already two months old with no solution in sight. As any gap in dosage could affect the treatment, authorities are left with no option but to turn to paediatric medicines to continue the medication plan.

“There are about 2700 active TB patients in Indore. We have a shortage of 4FDC tablets and the stock of 3FDC tablets is also thin. To maintain the treatment line, we are giving tablets used for treating TB in kids to adults. We have increased the number of tablets as per the weight of the patient,” district TB Officer Dr Shailandra Jain, said.

Though this makeshift approach ensures that patients receive some form of medication, it also underscores gravity of the situation.

As uncertainty looms over restoration of steady supply, the fate of TB patients hangs in the balance.

Despite repeated pleas a sustainable solution continues to elude the city. Supply continues to trickle in through a convoluted path from Delhi to Bhopal and back to Indore.

Dr Jain further said that about 25% of total active patients were of paediatric category i.e, below 18 years of age.

“We had the buffer stock which helped in maintaining the treatment. We have been ordered to get 4FDC tablets through local purchase but there is no update on 3FDC tablets,” Dr Jain said.

Medical experts stressed on importance of regular medication intake for TB patients to prevent relapse and emergence of drug-resistant strains.

The timing of the shortage is particularly alarming as India plans to become TB-free by 2025. The persistent challenges in the medicine supply chain pose a significant obstacle to this ambition, with the number of TB patients continuing to rise annually.

Scarcity of drug in market

A senior health official, wishing anonymity, said that officials have ordered to take the medicine through local purchase but there is scarcity of drug in the market as well.

“The supplier has the time of 90 days to deliver the medicines. The supplier also supplies to the government. It is questionable that how medicines will be supplied locally amid scarcity,” the official said.

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