MLA Lokeshwar urges for necessary measures over shortage of ART drug, MACS says it has enough ART drug

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Imphal: Opposition MLA Th. Lokeshwar urged the Manipur House to take necessary measures so that shortage of ART tablets could be solved.

Lokeshwar highlighted a newspaper report on the woes faced by those people dependent on life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs during the Zero Hour of the Assembly sitting on Tuesday.

He said People Living with HIV (PLHIV) are also a part of the society and government need to take necessary measures to the welfare of PLHIV.

The Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) in a press release said there are 13,802 PLHIV currently on ART in the state under the care of Manipur State AIDS Control Society and out of this, 11,769 (85%) are on TLD (ARV medicines). Manipur State AIDS Control Society has enough TLD stocks for 4.78 months as on Wednesday. However, for some of the paediatrics medicines, which are low in stock, Manipur State AIDS Control Society is managing with adult ARV medicines through dose management.

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All the Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs are centrally procured and supplied by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). However, since May 5 SACSs have been instructed to locally procure some of the ARV drugs.  Accordingly, Manipur State AIDS Control Society had completed the first procurement of three medicines and the second procurement for 4 paediatrics medicines and 7 adult medicines is under process.

In extreme conditions of total stock out positions of the medicines, as per NACO directive, individual PLHIVs can purchase the medicines for not more than one month and reimbursement can be claimed from Manipur State AIDS Control Society. There are occasions where such incidents have had happened and Manipur State AIDS Control Society had done the reimbursements to PLHIVs after submitting proper bills and vouchers and other relevant documents.

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Regarding complains on regime change, Manipur State AIDS Control Society is doing phase wise transitions of PLHIV on specific NNRTI (Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor) and PI (Protease Inhibitor) based ARV regimen to DTG (Dolutegravir) based regimen as per directions from NACO.

The PLHIV community is requested not to panic and maintain calm while reading such news and social media posts on stock out of ARV medicines.

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