TB activists call for uninterrupted supply of TB medicines in India

26 June 2013 - New Delhi - Tuberculosis (TB) patients and activists gathered outside government buildings to protest against reported shortages of TB medicines across India.

Citing reports of medicine shortages in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Nagaland states, the protestors called on India’s Ministry of Health to ensure an uninterrupted supply of drugs to the country.

"When stocks of TB drugs run out, unplanned treatment interruptions lead to increased risk of drug-resistant TB, treatment failure, and death," the activists participating in the protest said in a memorandum sent to the Ministry of Health. "A continuous, sustainable supply of quality-assured medicines is vital for TB patients to have even half a chance of being cured," the memorandum said.

Ministry of Health officials met with the protestors to answer their questions regarding the government’s procurement of drugs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"We are here today to demand answers from the Health Ministry and national TB programme," said Cassius Singh, a TB patient. "Why did they let this happen and what are the measures being taken to restore the normal drug supply to the states. We insist on more transparency and monitoring around procurement of TB medicines by the Central TB Division."

Read a Wall Street Journal article on the drug shortages reported in India.