HIV medicines: India patients say hit by drugs shortage

For more than three weeks, Jaiprakash, who lives in India’s capital, Delhi, has been taking 11 tablets a day instead of the two he is supposed to take.

The reason, the 44-year-old says, is that he is unable to access the right dosage of the combination medicine prescribed to him for HIV. So, he has found a temporary workaround – he ingests additional pills from a bottle of lower dosage tablets usually given to children.

Jaiprakash is among hundreds of thousands of Indians living with HIV who depend on free medicines provided by the government through anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres across the country.

For weeks, he and other members of an HIV activist group have been protesting in front of the Delhi office of the National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) – the federal agency that procures drugs from pharmaceutical firms by issuing tenders. They allege that there is a critical shortage of essential drugs, including Dolutegravir 50mg – which Naco has recommended as “the…

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