The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reminded the Union Health Ministry to reply to its September 16 notice on the shortfall of life-saving drugs for HIV patients.
When issuing the notice, the commission gave the Ministry two weeks to file a reply. With no reply forthcoming, a reminder was issued on October 28, giving four more weeks.
Taking cognisance of media reports that treatment and control of HIV was being hampered by the shortage of life-saving drugs, the commission asked the Ministry for a response. Treatment and control of HIV, including dispensing drugs and testing, is handled by a government-run public health programme through 355 centres.
“However, because of a severe stock-out of life-saving medicines at these centres, treatment of HIV patients across India had taken a hit. The worst-affected centres are in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Manipur. Out of these, government owned centres in Delhi and Mumbai cities are hit the most,” the NHRC said in a statement.
Citing media reports, the commission said the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), a non-governmental organisation, sought emergency procurement and relocation of stocks to the government-owned centres experiencing stock-outs of anti-retroviral drugs. It sought the strengthening and streamlining of drug forecasting, procurement and supply-chain mechanism to prevent shortages.