The Economic Times (12.13.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
The government of India will provide free TB medicines to all “chemist shops and corporate hospitals” in the country to encourage TB-infected persons to adhere to treatment. India is adopting the strategy to make it easier for TB patients to get their medicine and complete treatment on schedule. TB patients who do not follow the prescribed treatment regimen are more likely to develop multi-drug resistant TB.
In May 2012, the government of India declared TB a “notifiable disease,” requiring all doctors and other health care providers to report all cases to the government. Under the free TB drug plan, each patient diagnosed with TB will register with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program, which will issue the individual a unique identifier with all TB prescription and dosage information. TB-infected patients will be able to obtain free treatment at any chemist shop or hospital because their treatment information will be available online. India’s free TB treatment program will be rolled out by March, 2013.
Director General of Health Services Jagdhish Prasad, MD, stated that efforts are also underway to develop a standardized model for directly observed therapy for the program, since some private practitioners do not currently use the schedule approved by the World Health Organization.
TB causes more than 16 percent of deaths among adults aged 15–49 in India, and there are about 10,000 cases of multi-drug resistant TB each year in India.