Gujarat FDCA designates 4,000 retail pharmacies in state to distribute anti-TB drugs to patients


The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has designated 4,000 retail pharmacies to distribute anti-TB drugs to patients not covered under the government healthcare programme. These designated pharmacies will stock and sell medicines for TB patients and help get patient’s details in an effective way. Gujarat FDCA is also supporting National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) by sharing relevant details of the patients not covered under the Revised National Tuberculosis Programme (RNTCP). “Based on the data shared, NRHM takes up the case with the concerned District TB Officer which in turn ensures that private TB patients fall under the government ambit,” informs Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr HG Koshia. There are around 37,650 retail and wholesale pharmacies in the state of Gujarat.

This will help to check prevalence of TB in individuals who are not covered under Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS). RNTCP uses the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended DOTS strategy and reaches over a billion people in 632 districts or reporting units across the country. The RNTCP is responsible for carrying out Government of India’s five year TB National Strategic Plans. With the RNTCP both diagnosis and treatment of TB are free.

India has the highest tuberculosis burden in the world, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the global incidence. Experts advocate that there is a need to have epidemiological data on TB through a nationwide surveillance. Central Government is also upscaling sensitive diagnostic modalities across the country as part of its implementation research projects by using Genexpert to pick up TB and Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR TB). Genexpert test is a molecular test which detects the DNA in TB bacteria. It uses a sputum sample and can give a result in less than 2 hours. Moreover, the proportion of MDR-TB among previously treated TB cases has exceeded 50% in several countries. In 2006, extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) was reported in all regions of the world and was rapidly classified by World Health Organisation (WHO) as a serious emerging threat to global public health.

Reports on medicines quality problems with their serious health repercussions appear to be on the increase, the exact magnitude of the problem is unknown. Survey of the quality of anti-tuberculosis medicines circulating in selected newly independent states of the former Soviet Union in November 2011 by WHO states that since 2000, no country outside of Eastern Europe and Central Asia has reported proportions of MDR-TB among new cases exceeding 6% (for countries reporting more than 10 MDR-TB cases).

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