Drugs to combat TB likely to be regulated

The drugs available to combat tuberculosis (TB) are likely to be regulated. With the incidence of drug-resistant TB increasing, the government is considering making the drugs available only in the public sector and out of bounds for private sector pharmacies.
The government is considering taking the decision at the meeting to review the national TB programme slated for next week. “We are of the view that the TB drug should not be available in private pharmacies. This has resulted in a lot of drug resistance. It has been seen that these high-end drugs are available over the counter. Some restriction and regulation as far as the accessibility of drugs is concerned is definitely needed,” said Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director-General of Health Services (DGHS).
The resistance of drugs happens at various levels. While XDR-TB cases are resistant to any of the three second-line drugs, multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases do not respond to at least two of the most potent first-line anti-TB drugs. The airborne disease is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which affects the lungs.
According to the WHO Global TB report 2012, India, China, Russia and South Africa have almost 60 per cent of the world’s MDR-TB burden. An earlier WHO report revealed that India had an estimated 63,000 cases of notified multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in 2010, highest in the Southeast Asia region. According to the international health agency, MDR-TB prevalence is estimated to be 2.3 per cent among new cases and 12-17 per cent among re-treatment cases. Also, India ranks second among the 27 MDR-TB high-burden countries worldwide after China.
According to the health ministry’s TB Control statistics, the disease kills two people every three minutes. While India has been relying on DOTS treatment to fight the disease, the health ministry, after its report by experts, stated that cases seem to be falling within the category of extensively drug resistant TB (XDR TB). The ministry shrugged off the term “TDR”, saying it is not recognised by WHO. 
In 2012, cases of XDR TB were reported from a hospital in Mumbai.

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