K’taka govt writes to Union Health Minister urging urgent supply of anti-TB drugs to State


PTI, Mar 27, 2024, 8:03 PM IST

Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao has written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking urgent supply of anti-TB drugs to the state.

In a letter to Mandaviya, he said there has been frequent interruption in the supply of anti-TB drugs to the state since 2021, and two recent communications from the Government of India require the state to procure DSTB (Drug-Sensitive Tuberculosis) patient drugs for the next three months. The second communication came after the model code of conduct (MCC) had come into effect, it said. Stressing that the state notifies more than 80,000 patients annually — around 6,800 TB patients on a monthly basis, Rao said they have to be provided continuous treatment. In view of this, the state has intensified its efforts to procure Anti-TB drugs both at the state level and district level.

A letter from the Mission Director (National Health Mission) had also been sent to the Joint Secretary (Reproductive and Child Health) regarding permission for utilising the approved ROP (Record of Proceedings) of 2024-25 to procure these medications. In public interest, the department has requested the Finance department of the state to provide additional funds for procuring the drugs, the letter stated.

”However, it has been learnt that neither these medications are available in the quantities required by the state nor the procurement process can be hastened in view of both its manufacturing process as well as the prevailing MCC,” the Minister said.

Rao further stated that he did not wish to accuse the Union Government of callousness. He, however, pointed out that state support for the TB patients has been jeopardised by this action of the Union Government. ”Both the delayed communication to procure a critical drug (whose procurement is problematic in the short run) and also issuing the communication during model code of conduct have adversely affected the efforts of the state government in this regard,” he said in the letter dated March 26.

”Under the circumstances, the Union Government has an obligation to respond immediately and support the state government to keep up the supply of critical drugs of the TB patients at a required level,” the Minister added.

He urged the Union Health Minister to instruct the officials concerned to supply the first-line Anti-TB drugs on an urgent basis to the state.

”We hope the Union Government recognises the adverse effects of its decision and adopts a course correction immediately, to avoid thousands of TB patients throughout the state of Karnataka being put to uncalled hardship and leading to higher pain and death in such patients,” the letter added.

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