Aids Weekly Plus
India’s Health Ministry is considering halting open-market sales of TB drugs and moving to a system in which all TB patients would receive free TB medication daily through government-registered directly observed therapy (DOT) programs. The World Health Organization estimates that 2.2 million of the world’s 8.7 million TB patients reside in India.
Approximately 65 percent of India’s TB patients already receive DOT through government programs; the remainder go to private practitioners and purchase TB prescriptions from private pharmacies. However, taking TB medications intermittently, instead of daily, can lead to resistance to anti-TB drugs and can increase the chance of TB relapse.
The new initiative would require private practitioners to inform patients of their TB diagnosis through a dedicated call center; all TB patients then would participate in a daily, government-supplied DOT regimen that allows for proper monitoring of TB medications. Brazil and China already have switched to the daily system.