Government must regulate sale of TB drugs: MSF

New Delhi, March 21: An international organisation of doctors Friday asked the Indian government to prevent the unregulated sale of tuberculosis (TB) drugs in the private healthcare sector of the country.

Immediate action from the Indian government is needed to prevent the unregulated sale and inappropriate prescription of TB drugs, which has had a significant role in the emergence of “drug-resistant TB (DR-TB)” in the country, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors without Borders organisation said in a statement.

“It is the patients who suffer the consequences of poor regulation of TB drug formulations in India. An increasing number of our patients are being diagnosed with DR-TB,” said Simon Janes, medical coordinator with MSF in India.

He said that the DR-TB infections are on the rise in India.

“The rising number of such cases has made the disease more difficult and considerably more expensive to treat. The conditions for emergence of drug resistance are increasingly being linked to poor drug regulation in India,” Janes said.

India has one of the largest private TB drug markets, with rampant proliferation of first-line TB drugs in a wide variety of dosages and combinations, the MSF statement said.

Homa Mansoor, another top official with MSF India, said: “In our experience of working in India since 1999, we have seen prescriptions from private health providers that were completely inappropriate”.

“Strict regulation of first-line TB drug formulations and prescription practices in the private sector is needed in India,” she said.