TN DCA joins hands with Central TB control division to collect data from pharmacies to make India TB-free

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In a move to fully support the central government’s commitment to eradicate Tuberculosis (TB) from India by 2025, the drugs control department in Tamil Nadu has decided to join hands with the centrally sponsored-state TB control program by collecting details of TB patients from private hospitals and retail pharmacy outlets.

The drugs control administration will collect details of patients who buy anti-TB drugs from all the licensed 42,000 medical shops across the state and of those who seek treatments from private hospitals. The drug control officials will join with the state TB control officials to visit pharmacy outlets and healthcare institutions to collect the data. The DCA will initiate action against the medical shop owners who do not share the details of the patients with the health officials or keep register for writing details about prescriptions.

Briefing Pharmabiz, S Sivabalan, director of TNDCA, said the state government also wants to eradicate TB from Tamil Nadu and make India a TB-free country in the near future.

According to him, all the 10 ADC offices have been given notices directing them to instruct their drug inspectors to collect data and hand over it to the nodal officers of the TB control programme. The medical shops have been informed to provide information about sale of anti-TB drugs and prescriptions to the health officials. The DC will conduct a random inspection in certain districts along with the nodal officers. From government hospitals, data will be collected by the officers of the TB control program. They will keep record of the patients and the medicines prescribed by the doctors.

“The government of India aims for a TB-free India by 2025 and it wants to have a complete data of the affected patients in the country. All the clinical establishments, private doctors and pharmacies have been directed by the Union government to provide the details of TB patients to the health officials. So, from Tamil Nadu the DCA will provide complete data about sale of anti-tuberculosis drugs coming under Schedule H 1 to the central health department. For this, the retail pharmacies have been given strict instruction to keep a separate register for writing information about prescription drugs”, said the Director.

To a query, he said there are about eight drugs under H 1 category for giving to TB patients. The pharmacist in the medical shop should write in the register the name and address of the patient who buys the medicine and the name of the doctor who prescribes the medicine. This will help for tracking the patient by the health officials when necessary. The health department will also give counseling to the patients and their family members.

According to health department officials, TB is becoming a major public health challenge in the country today. The number of deaths due to TB has reduced from 480,000 in 2015 to 423, 000 in 2016. However, there are still estimated 2.8 million new infections occurring annually in India. Cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) have increased from 130,000 in 2015 to 147,000 in 2016. As the challenges posed by the disease continue to mutate and evolve, innovative measures are required to counter the challenge, they said.

According to the officials, there is National Strategic Plan 2017-25 (NSP) for elimination of TB which envisions a TB-free India with zero deaths, disease and poverty due to tuberculosis. The NSP emphasizes the importance of counseling and community based support. In April 2018, the Nikshay Poshan Yojana was launched for distribution of incentives for nutritional support to TB patients. The scheme will provide nutritional support to all notified TB patients registered on the NIKSHAY portal at the rate of Rs. 500 per month for the entire duration of their treatment.

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