Health

Protest by people with HIV alleging shortage of drugs continues, govt says no medicine scarcity

Protest by people with HIV alleging shortage of drugs continues, govt says no medicine scarcity

The protesters allege complete unavailability of certain drugs, including those for children with HIV, and arbitrary switching to a different class of drugs for most patients


Representative image. Pic/Istock






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A group of people who are HIV-positive have protested here outside the office of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for the past 20 days, claiming there was a shortage of certain antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, while the government claims there are none. scarcity is with the state or national government. level.

The government recently told Lok Sabha that nationwide there are sufficient supplies of ARV drugs for about 95 percent of people living with HIV in India.

The protesters allege complete unavailability of certain drugs, including those for children with HIV, and arbitrary switching to a different class of drugs for most patients.

They say that if the drugs don’t become available in the coming weeks, it will lead to serious complications in people living with HIV.

“Dolutegravir 50 mg is the backbone of the National AIDS Control Program, and as of April, the drug has been unavailable at nearly all individual antiretroviral therapy (ART) centers across the country.

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“We have written several letters to the State AIDS Control Society and NACO and the Ministry of Health citing the shortage of this life-saving drug, but no response has been received. In addition, DTG, another drug TL is also not available” , one of the protesters said.

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Another protester claimed that Nevirapine syrup, a drug for children with HIV, is also not available in most centers.

“The government claims there is sufficient stock nationally for about 95 percent of the ‘people with HIV’ who are on first- and second-line ARV regimens in the country. So if we go by that figure, 5 percent of the population is 13.88. 000 HIV-affected individuals are not receiving life-saving drugs,” he said.

Health Ministry officials said there is no reported stock of ARV drugs at the state level and new supply orders have already been placed to purchase the next lot of several drugs. Individual ART centers can sometimes have this problem, but the drugs are immediately moved from nearby centers, they said.

An official said India is one of the few countries to provide free antiretroviral drugs for lifelong treatment of more than 14.5 lakh people living with HIV through 680 ART centers under its National AIDS Control Program (NACP), which is being fully completed. financed by the government of India.

NACO purchases ARV medicines centrally according to national guidelines.

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Nationally, there is sufficient supply for about 95 percent of people living with HIV in India using first- and second-line ARV regimens, such as tablet TLD (tenofovir + lamivudine + dolutegravir) and other ARV regimens, the officials said.

“The mainstay of treatment for more than 85 individuals with PLHIV per vent is Tablet-TLD (a fixed-dose combination of three antiretroviral drugs, namely Tenofovir (300 mg) + Lamivudine (300 mg) + dolutegravir (50 mg), for which sufficient stock at the national level to last more than 3 months,” the official said.

Tablet Dolutegravir (DTG)-50 mg is required for about 50,000 people with HIV who are either on alternative 1st/2nd or 3rd line regimens or those with TB co-infection, officials said.

The Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) has been requested to deliver the first batch of drugs at the earliest to ensure that the fresh batch of drugs would be received before current supplies run out, the official added.

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