Many of us aren’t aware that the government of India provides free TB medicines to people at government authorized centers like government hospitals, DOTS providers, Community directly observed Treatment as a part of their efforts to eradicate TB completely from the country. Further, there is good news around it. The highest drug advisory of India has considered relaxing the rules under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
India has had a high number of TB cases and hence the government felt the need to make the TB drugs accessible faster. By taking private pharmacies into the circle of free stocking and dispensing of TB medicines will definitely increase the reach. The idea was popped last year with the objective of increasing the accessibility of medicines for the people in need. Furthermore, the pharmacists will have to keep a stock of it also because they came under Schedule H1, as per the director-general of health services.
The proposal is to amend rule 65(18) of the Drugs and cosmetics act by proviso insertion on the distribution as well as stocking of anti-TB drugs by taking private pharmacies into the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) of the government of India.
By establishing linkages with the private sector the objective is to establish linking between the private and the government for not only distribution of free drugs but for patient support services and counseling as well. The national TB control program is on a mission of providing universal access to TB patients as the latest global TB report released by the world health organization showed India topping the charts.
Another reason for trying to make TB drugs accessible at private pharmacies is to shun away the stigma around the condition in some sections of society. So, if you know of someone having TB or just share this information with your maids and other servants, it just might help them or people they know dealing with the condition.