Leaving thousands of patients without treatment, some drug-makers in India halted supplies of HIV/AIDS drugs under the government’s free medicine programme citing delayed payments.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), acquires antiretroviral drugs for treating HIV/AIDS from companies through a tender process and supplies the drugs to healthcare providers across the country.
Leena Menghaney, an activist with the medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said that some drug-makers stopped participating in the government’s tender process over the past year because of delays in getting paid, creating a shortage.
According to the UN reports, India had the third largest HIV infected population in the world at the end of 2013 and accounts for about four out of 10 people living with HIV in Asia.
“The supply chain has broken down, tenders have not been filled. As a result there are not enough drugs in the programme to meet the needs of the people. Patients have been told to fend for themselves,” added Menghaney.
In a report issued by the World Health Organisation last year said that only half of the deserving people gets free drugs from the government that started scheme in 2004.