Export of anti-tuberculosis medicines a worry

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By Economic Times – Export of anti-tuberculosis medicines a worry The health ministry has flagged the need for suspension of the export of anti-tuberculosis medicines, saying the coronavirus outbreak has impacted domestic production of these drugs and their overseas shipment will worsen the supply problem in the country.Last Updated: Apr 22, 2020, 08.24 AM ISTReutersThe health ministry has flagged the need for suspension of export of anti-tuberculosis medicines, saying the coronavirus outbreak has impacted domestic production of these drugs and their overseas shipment will worsen the supply problem in the country.

According to the ministry, shortage of manpower and disruption in supply of raw materials to the pharmaceuticals sector has affected the production capacity of leading anti-TB drug manufacturers in the country.

“Such a situation will worsen the treatment of the TB patients in the country,” Union health secretary Preeti Sudan said in a letter dated April 17 to the empowered group, which has been constituted to facilitate supply chain and logistics management amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to Sudan, suppliers have communicated that TB drug supplies will be delayed because of force majeure on account of Covid-19, limited material of API for production, and issues with manpower and transportation facilities.

She said the situation calls for “extraordinary” measures to ensure that there are no challenges in assessing the diagnosis or treatment of TB across the country under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP).

Macleods and Lupin, the leading anti-TB drug manufacturers in India, have contract agreements under NTEP.

In her letter, the health secretary has asked the empowered group to advise the department of pharmaceuticals and commerce ministry to intervene and issue directions for prohibiting export of anti-TB medicines, “while considering mandatorily the need of the country as overriding priority to ensure smooth supply of anti-TB drugs so that the NTEP does not face any problem in receiving these anti-TB drugs.”

The secretary has also asked the group to intervene and instruct the authorities concerned in the states to ensure that these pharma companies don’t face challenges with manpower and transportation.
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