Acute shortage of crucial TB medicine hinders government`s TB elimination program in UP`s Pilibhit

  • | Thursday | 21st September, 2023

PILIBHIT: The absence of a critical medicine, "clofazimine 100 mg", at the district tuberculosis center in Pilibhit has become a major roadblock in the Centres National Tuberculosis Elimination Program, which aims to make India tuberculosis-free by 2025.Dr. Hari Dutt Nemi, the superintendent of the district TB centre, said the hospital has faced a shortage of this medicine for the past one and a half months, despite sending requisitions to the state medical administration three times for its free distribution.Some of the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) patients told TOI that this medicine is also unavailable in the open market. Pilibhit currently has approximately 1,200 frontline tuberculosis patients, including 124 MDR patients, as per the official records.Dr. Amit Kushwaha, a prominent chest specialist based in Bareilly, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, "The recovery rate in MDR patients is limited to a maximum of 60 to 65% under ideal conditions if the patient strictly follows the treatment regimen and takes all the medicines on time. However, if a crucial medicine like clofazimine is unavailable, it significantly increases the risk to the patients survival."When questioned about the reason behind the medicines unavailability, a pharmacist, requesting anonymity, said, We typically dont stock medicines for sale that are distributed for free under government flagship health programs because there is virtually no demand for them in the open market.Dr. Nemi said, I have discussed the issue with higher medical authorities in Lucknow and received assurances that the medicine in question would be made available in Pilibhit soon.

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