NHRC raps Health Ministry for delaying report on HIV drugs

The National Human Rights Commission has rapped the Union Health Ministry for failing to meet the deadline to respond to its notice issued over alleged shortage of life saving drugs for HIV patients.

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has rapped the Union Health Ministry for failing to meet the deadline to respond to its notice issued over alleged shortage of life saving drugs for HIV patients.

The Commission has given four weeks' time to the Ministry to submit a report in this connection.

"In the matter of shortage of life saving medicines for HIV patients, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has not been able to give a reply to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) even after the expiry of two weeks' deadline, which was communicated to it on September 16," it said in a statement issued today.

The NHRC, vide a reminder on October 28 has given four weeks' time to the Ministry, through its Secretary, to submit the report, the statement added.

Taking cognisance of a media report on August 26 that the treatment and control of HIV, including dispensing drugs and testing was handled by the government-run public health programme through 355 odd centres.

"However, due to severe stock-outs of life saving medicines at these centres, treatment of HIV patients across India had taken a hit. The worst affected centres were in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Manipur. Out of these, Government-owned centres in Delhi and Mumbai cities were hit the most," the statement said.

According to the report, Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), an NGO representing HIV patients, had sought emergency procurement and relocation of stocks to the government-owned centres experiencing stock-outs of ARVS.

It had also sought strengthening and streamlining drug forecasting, procurement and supply chain mechanism to prevent future shortages.

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