SC asks Centre to implement new TB protocol

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to implement the new tuberculosis protocol saying if the drug combination is the same then why can it not be given on a daily basis instead of thrice a week.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, "When drug is the same, then you can straight away start implementing the new dosage policy."

The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, further said, "We know your (Centre's) reply is wrong," and asked the ASG to take instruction on the same from the government and revert to it on the next date of hearing on January 13.

The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by doctor and tuberculosis specialist Raman Kakkar, seeking change in the protocol for treatment of TB in the country.

The plea claimed that the current practice of giving three doses of medicine every week should be replaced with the traditional and time-tested daily dose regimen.

Describing the technique adopted by the department concerned as "unscientific" and "improper", he said the present tuberculosis protocol stipulated only an inadequate medicine regime to cut costs, adding that it promoted relapses and generated a lethal drug-resistant strain in the body of the patient.

He claimed over 10 per cent of tuberculosis patients suffered relapse compared with the global average of three per cent, noting that the relapsed cases were harder to treat than first-time infections.

"A catagory II patient (one whose disease has relapsed) in India is given only 24 injections (of the antibacterial streptomycin) while everywhere else in the world such a patient generally gets 60 injections," the petition said.

It said that while more than 20 lakh TB cases were reported at government hospitals each year in the country, the number of such patients in Faridabad was between 3,500 and 4,000 each year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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