Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drug shortage likely to hit HIV treatment

The HIV-positive patients, these days, are making frequent trips to the antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres across the State. They are forced to do so due to shortage of drugs. The State is facing acute shortage of ART drugs for the past two months.

A truck driver, who is HIV-positive, said he was facing a problem visiting the ART centre more than once in a month as his profession keeps him travelling throughout the month.The driver earlier visited a centre once in a month to collect his medicines. But now, he is asked to make a visit every fortnight.

Archana, a member of an NGO working for the welfare of women and children living with HIV, fears that the shortage may lead to patients dropping out of the treatment.

“If the centres ask the patients to visit the ART centres more than twice a month, there is every chance that patients may not turn up for the medication. This will lead to further complications in their health as most of them are already in a delicate state,” she said. 

The Karnataka Drug Logistics Society (KDLS) has not procured ART drugs since May 2013 as the tenders floated on May 16 were rejected by the tender-accepting committee headed by the Health commissioner and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). According to Prabhulinga Kavalikatti, additional director, KDLS, re-tendering was done on September 20 and drug supplies were expected by mid-November. Health Commissioner V B Patil, however, ruled out that there was shortage of ART drugs.

Manoj Kumar Tripathi, project director, Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS), did not deny that there was a shortage of ART drugs. “There is enough stock of the drugs and every HIV-positive patient is being supplied with required medication. It is only the duration that has been rescheduled,” he said.

Tripathi said that drugs were being procured from neighbouring states for the time being. Reacting to patients dropping out, Tripathi said KSAPS was keeping a track of the number of patients who were visiting the centres for their drugs and there had not been any significant reduction.


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