TB Patients To Get Free Drugs From Local Chemists In Maharashtra

Reinvigorating its endeavors towards eradication of tuberculosis by 2025, the Maharashtra government has recently approved a proposal to supply free TB to retail chemists in parts of the state which will ensure poor patients’ access to TB drugs easily.

Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) had reported to Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advising them about the decision. DMER in the letter expressed that the chemists with a valid license will get TB drugs from the state government. They can store and supply drugs to TB patients for nothing.

Lakhs of resource crunch TB patients visiting DOTS centers to get TB drugs will profit from the activity. All the medicines needed to treat TB patients are available at DOTS centers for free of cost under Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP).

Currently, certain chemists in Mumbai have been assigned to get free TB drugs from the state government and supply them to patients. It will constantly be extended to parts of the state so that maximum patients benefit from the initiative, said Dr. Sanjeev Kamble.

Speaking about the criteria to find the chemists for distribution of free TB drugs, Dr. Kamble said: “The chemists located in semi-urban areas, urban areas reporting a significant number of TB cases to the government will be assigned for distribution of TB drugs to patients for free.”

TB Patients To Get Free Drugs From Local Chemists In Maharashtra

“The chemists having a valid license can store and distribute free TB drugs to patients. From the state government, the list of chemists who will get free TB drugs will be set up by the state TB cell. We are strictly implementing Schedule H1 containing TB drugs at retail drug stores to make TB control program more viable”, said Arjun Khadtare, joint commissioner, FDA confirming the DMER letter.

According to the Schedule H1, pharmacies are required to dispense anti TB drugs on prescription of a registered medical practitioner and keep up a separate register containing the name and address of the prescriber, the name of the patient, the name of the drug and the quantity supplied and such records should be kept up for three years and be open for inspection.

TB was responsible for 1.7 million deaths in 2016, regardless of most cases being curable. India continues to have the highest number of TB cases in the world, said the Global TB Report 2017 released by World Health Organization (WHO).

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