India’s ART shortage

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20 Oct 2014

India is facing an HIV drugs supply crisis. HIV organisations report depleting stocks of anti-HIV drugs nevirapine and abacavir.

Delayed tender approvals, poor coordination and slow dispatch have left India’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) scrambling desperately for supplies. As stock diminishes, adults are reportedly taking multiple doses of HIV medication intended for children. 

With many people in India living with HIV unable to afford life-saving treatment, the government provides more than a third of the country’s 2.1 million HIV patients with free antiretroviral drugs via a tender process. However, tender delays mean that tens of thousands of PLHIV are currently without medication.

“We cannot live without these drugs,” said Rajkumar Kanta, president of the Community Network for Empowerment (CONE). “The situation has been going on for a while. We are dependent on these medicines. Authorities should take necessary steps.”

India's Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, said stocks will be replenished very soon. "We will get adequate supply in some time," he said. India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world.