MoHFW seeks export ban of anti-TB drugs

Delay in production and receipt of supply may cause an acute shortage of these drugs, highlights Union Health Secretary

The Union Health Ministry has sought a ban on the export of anti-tuberculosis drugs over concerns that the lockdown due to COVID-19 has affected the production of such medicines.

Preeti Sudan, Union Health Secretary said that delay in production and receipt of supply may cause acute shortage of these drugs, She also requested an empowered group of government officials to direct the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Commerce Ministry for issuing necessary directions to prohibit the export of anti-TB medicines.

In a letter marked to Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation, who is also the chairman of the empowered group for facilitating supply chain and logistics management, Sudan informed, “In view of the emergency measures undertaken, the availability of a limited number of manpower and material to the pharma industry, the production capacity of the leading anti-TB drug manufacturers of India has been affected.”

Such a situation will worsen the treatment of TB patients within the country, she added. Sudan said suppliers have communicated that anti-TB drug supplies will be delayed because of ‘force majeure’ due to COVID-19 response activities, limited material (API), for production, limited manpower (because of restrictions) and limited transportation facilities.

The leading anti-TB drugs manufacturers at present having contract agreement with National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP) are Macleods and Lupin. Major factories for these drugs are in Bharuch and Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Baddi in Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu.

Under these circumstances, needless to emphasise that the situation calls for extraordinary measures to ensure that TB patients of the country simultaneously don’t face any challenges in accessing either diagnosis or the treatment of tuberculosis across the country under the NTEP, Sudan said.

“Therefore it is requested the Empowered Group may issue directions to Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Department of Commerce for their intervention in this regard and also issue direction for prohibiting the export of anti-TB medicines while considering mandatorily the need of the country as an overriding priority to ensure smooth supply of these drugs,” she said in the letter.

anti-tuberculosis drugsCOVID-19Department of PharmaceuticalsLupinMacleodsMoHFWNational Tuberculosis Elimination Program
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