The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a statement refuting recent media reports that suggest a shortage of anti-Tuberculosis (TB) drugs in India and question the efficacy of these drugs under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP).
The ministry has labelled these reports as vague and ill-informed, lacking specific information about the availability of anti-TB medicines in stock, read the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare press release.
Under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP), the treatment for drug-sensitive tuberculosis involves a regimen of four drugs available as 4 FDC (Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol, and Pyrazinamide) for two months, followed by three drugs available as 3 FDC (Isoniazid, Rifampicin, and Ethambutol) for an additional two months.
Importantly, there are sufficient stocks of all these drugs, with supplies lasting for six months or more.
For Multi-Drug Resistant TB, the treatment typically consists of four months of seven drugs, followed by five months of four drugs. In approximately 30 per cent of cases of drug-resistant TB, cycloserine and linezolid may be required, read the press release.
The procurement, storage, and distribution of anti-TB drugs and related materials are centrally managed under NTEP. In rare cases, states were requested to procure specific drugs locally for a limited period to ensure that individual patient care remains uninterrupted.
For instance, Maharashtra has procured Cycloserine Tablets centrally, and some states have delegated procurement to districts as needed.

The Ministry shared the current stock status of anti-TB drugs in Maharashtra and at the national level to dispel any doubts about shortages.
Stock Position at National Level (as of September 24, 2023)- Cycloserine – 250 mg: 14,79,857 units, Linezolid – 600 mg: 9,95,779 units, Delamanid – 50 mg: 11,37,802 units, Levofloxacin – 250 mg: 28,85,176 units, Levofloxacin – 500 mg: 33,27,130 units, Clofazimine – 100 mg: 12,86,360 units, Moxifloxacin – 400 mg: 2,72,49,866 units, Pyridoxine: 2,72,99,242 units, read the press release.
The ministry emphasizes that there is no shortage of essential anti-TB drugs, with over 15 months of stock available for Moxifloxacin 400 mg and Pyridoxine under NTEP.
Additionally, Delamanid 50 mg and Clofazimine 100 mg were procured in August 2023 and supplied to all states and Union Territories.
Purchase orders have been issued for the supply of Linezolid-600mg and Cap Cycloserine-250 mg in August 2023, with these drugs being dispatched to the states.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare assures that significant efforts are in place to ensure the availability of these crucial anti-TB drugs, with regular assessments conducted to evaluate stock positions at various levels, from central warehouses to peripheral health institutes.
Therefore, the media reports are deemed vague and ill-informed, not accurately reflecting the actual stock of anti-TB drugs in the country. (ANI)