The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices returnable in two weeks to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and health secretaris of all states and union territories over the alleged shortage of key tuberculosis drugs in the country.
The notices were issued after the NHRC took suo motu cognisance of a media report that treatment of lakhs of TB patients, especially children, has been affected due to severe shortage of key TB drugs over the past few weeks. The rights body has observed that the press report, if true, raised a serious issue of violation of right to health of the TB patients.
The Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has also been directed to inform the NHRC about the status of availability of TB drugs in all states as well as the steps taken by the Centre to overcome shortage in two drug categories -- paediatric and drug resistant TB. It was reported that under the TB treatment programme, the Centre is responsible for buying drugs and distributing them to the states. Reportedly, the shortage is caused by issues related to drug procurement. According to experts, it could prove disastrous if the government does not intervene immediately.