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Govt to buy 95 lakh strips of TB-fighting drugs worth Rs 116 cr

In a big move towards eradicating tuberculosis from India by 2025 as per the ambitious target fixed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre will soon place a massive order worth Rs 116 crore to procure nearly 95 lakh strips of TB-fighting drugs.

This big order is in sync with India’s goal of eliminating TB five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030. There are nearly 13.5 lakh active TB patients in the country, as per a government dashboard.

The order is expected to cover almost all of these patients with nearly 81 lakh strips (a strip has 28 tablets) being ordered for adults and over 14 lakh strips for children. The entire order, worth Rs 116 crore and expected to be placed later this year, is to be delivered in four batches over a period of two to 14 months. The Centre has invited the tenders for this big order on September 21, Wednesday.

About the medication
The medication being procured is 4FDC (fixed-dose combination) for adults and 2FDC for children — the first-line anti-TB drugs. The Modi government has changed the previous intermittent regimen to an FDC dosage regimen.

Under intermittent treatment, the patient has to take four separate pills, two or three times a week, whereas, under the FDC regimen, one pill is a combination of four, which is taken regularly for a fixed period. This method is more convenient and the chances of patients dropping out or missing their doses are very low.

According to the study published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, a daily anti-TB regimen has proven to be superior to a thrice-weekly regimen in terms of efficacy and emergence of rifampicin resistance.

“There was a plan to launch preventive therapy as well for household contacts of TB patients as India is working towards achieving the TB elimination deadline by 2025. There is a plan to order drugs for the prevention strategy too,” an expert told News18.

Regimens for treating TB have an intensive phase of two months, followed by a continuation phase of four or seven months. A rough calculation shows that an order of nearly 95 lakh strips of the medicine, with one strip being a dose for a month per patient, and taking an average of a six-month course, nearly all 13.5 lakh active TB patients in the country could be covered with this drug order.

Adopt a TB patient
The government recently also launched the ‘Ni-kshay Mitra’ programme in which it appealed to individuals, NGOs, and corporates to adopt TB patients by committing support like nutrition, diagnostics, and vocational training for their family members.

As per latest figures, out of the 13.5 lakh active TB patients in India, nearly 9.94 lakh consented for the help and almost all of them have been committed to for support by various individuals, NGOs, political parties, and corporates.

The BJP, on the occasion of PM Modi’s birthday this month, also asked its leaders to adopt a TB patient each, which was met with enthusiastic response from various ministers and leaders. CNBCTV18

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