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Wall Street Journal Examines Shortage Of TB Drugs In India

Noting “India faces a potential shortage of a critical medication for drug-resistant tuberculosis that could deepen an already acute drug-shortfall-problem in the country with the highest burden of the deadly contagious disease,” the Wall Street Journal reports, “Tuberculosis officials in several Indian states said this week that their stocks of kanamycin, an injectable antibiotic commonly used to treat drug-resistant TB, are running low, and an Indian government official acknowledged that the country has only a three-month supply left.” According to the newspaper, “The potential shortage would be the latest of several that India is facing with its TB drugs, and is particularly worrying because sporadic supplies of medications for drug-resistant forms of the disease can actually fuel further drug resistance.”

“Since January, pediatric TB drugs have been in short supply in many Indian states, according to TB officials,” the Wall Street Journal writes, noting, “The central government also has been unable to provide sufficient rifampicin, the most powerful TB drug, and another medicine, streptomycin.” The newspaper adds, “The shortages have so angered tuberculosis patients and activists that they held a rare protest outside the federal health ministry in New Delhi Wednesday” (Shah/McKay, 6/27).