Soon: Private pharmacies to distribute free TB drugs?

In order to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, the government of India plans to implement several measures to tackle the menace of TB. On January 22, the Union Health Ministry will hold a meeting with All India Chemist and Druggist Association. During the meeting, a decision to allow private pharmacies to distribute TB drugs for free to patients is likely to be taken


In the near future, patients suffering from tuberculosis no longer need to visit DOTS centres, if the meeting between over a lakh of chemists associations and the health ministry goes to plan.

The government is set to hold a discussion with All India Chemist and Druggist Association in order to distribute TB drugs free of cost in private pharmacies. This move will be beneficial for TB patients.

Along with Mumbai, the numbers of TB cases are rising in India. The state and central government have put in a lot of effort so that this plan comes to fruition.

The meeting on the 22 January will be crucial; a decision which will benefit TB patients is likely to be taken.

The treasurer of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association Santosh Dhondige said,” The number of TB patients are on the rise. We have been asking the government about this move since the last few years. Now, that the government is keen on this pharmacist and private doctors should get an opportunity to become a DOTS provider.”

In addition to this, chemists are being trained on how to provide and administer TB Medication to the patients. Training centers have been set-up in Bhiwandi, Chembur and Govandi.

The government will also provide the pharmacists with the patient’s name, address and phone number if the patients are not able to come to the chemists themselves.

Deputy Director General of the Central Tuberculosis Division, Dr Sunil Khaparde said, “There have been discussions with the government and the pharmaceutical companies and vendors. Yet there are no unanimous decisions regarding the same. Initially, it is likely that this scheme will be tried in two or three states.”

A pharmacist from Panvel, Santosh Gaikwad said, “If this decision comes into effect it will be helping a majority of TB patients. But each and every pharmacist needs to be part of this initiative. It is important to provide free medicine to needy patients.”