HIV-infected children across India who suffer from AIDS are not getting their dose of antiretroviral medicine. The National Aids Control Programme or NACO has a shortage of a syrup comprising lopinavir and ritonavir drugs prescribed for children with HIV and AIDS for up to the age of 3.
Dr. R S Gupta, Deputy Director General of NACO, said that around 500 toddlers are expected to depend on the antiretroviral medicine.
‘Life-Saving HIV drug combination of lopinavir and ritonavir for children runs out of stock in India.’
HIV and AIDS patients must take the antiretroviral medicines at fixed times everyday. Missing the dose may increase the chance of drug resistance among patients.
Antiretroviral syrups are normally administered in combination with other drugs like lamivudine along with zidovudine or abacavir.
Cipla, the drug manufacturing company, is the only producer of the syrup had stopped the syrup manufacturing by 2015. Even though NACO has issued tenders for syrup in October 2016, and January 2017, there was no bid in the previous round.
NACO bought the last consignment of the drug from Cipla in 2014. After a month of the drug being out of stock, NACO has placed emergency orders with a company in Haryana Ambala district, McNeil & Argus Pharmaceuticals which has produced the syrup twice, once for Bangladesh in 2013 and once for Iran in 2015.
GD Chibber, Chairman, McNeil & Argus Pharmaceuticals, said, that the company will be able to manufacture the drug in 10-15 days.
The NACO has also given some notifications to antiretroviral centers all over the country to advise parents to break tablets into parts to give to their children.
Gupta, also, said, "The parent can dissolve part of the tablet in water and give the child."
"Or divide it into pieces. If you cannot do that, you can nicely grind it and make it into a powder and then use it."
Children Living with HIV write Letter to PM Modi
About 637 children living with HIV aged between 3 to 19 years had written and signed a letter being addressed to the Prime Minister of India.
The letter signifies the urge to address the issue immediately and also ensures that proper drugs are not only exported but can also be made available for children living with HIV in India.
The report claims that the drug manufacturer has stopped the manufacturing of the Lopinavir syrup due to the non-payment of bills by the Health Ministry for many years.
An official from the Health Ministry has even said, that State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) has instructed to purchase drugs from local markets.
However, across the country, the drug is being run out of stock and buying the drug from a retail shop will be difficult if the sole manufacturer of the drug is not producing it.
The government of India is trying to make life-saving drugs available for all the HIV positive people in the country.