Struggling with the shortage of life-saving drugs, Children living with HIV (CLHIV) have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to address the issue, the Hindu reported on Monday. The letter was signed by 637 children aged between 3 to 19, asking senior government officials to ensure that proper drugs are not only exported but also made available to CLHIV in India.
The report claims that the children friendly HIV drug, Lopinavir syrup disappeared from the Indian markets after CIPLA, the sole manufacturer of the drug, stopped manufacturing it, citing non-payment of bills by the Health Ministry for several years. The report mentions a series of email exchanges between the company officials, the government officials and the HIV community, in which the drug manufacturing company hinted that it will not budge from its decision until the government clear the pending bills.
An official from the Ministry told the newspaper that State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) have been instructed to purchase drugs from local markets. “Across the country, in every State, there is no one to make this drug. How can we buy this from retail shops? The sole producer is not manufacturing it,” a worker from DNP+ was quoted by The Hindu.
The report also cited experts who claimed the shortage of drugs are turning into an embarrassment for India’s HIV programme. “The government is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to make available life saving medicines for the HIV community. It is also unfortunate that the present management of Cipla is walking away from its commitment to access to medicines all over the world, for which they are globally renowned,” an expert told The Hindu.