The Union Health Ministry in a notification on March 20, 2018 announced that it would be tying up with the chemists to strengthen the mechanism of notifying tuberculosis incidence to the authorities concerned.
The notification stated that all pharmacies and chemists dispensing anti-tuberculosis drugs will have to notify TB patients along with details of medicines and a copy of the prescriptions electronically or in hard copy to the nodal officer of the district or any other official authorised by him.
The main aim behind the decision is to trace the missing TB cases by strengthening the reporting system.
What will happen if a chemist doesn’t report a TB case?
The Health Ministry notification stated that in case of failure on part of a health establishment, pharmacy, chemist and druggist to notify a TB patient to a nodal officer or a local public health authority, or if the official concerned does not take appropriate action on receiving such a notification, then the party at fault would face penal action under IPC sections 269 and 270.
The local public health authority can include a district health officer, the chief medical officer of a district, municipal health officer of urban local bodies or their designated district tuberculosis officers.
IPC section 269: According to this section of the Indian penal code which translates to negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger¬ous to life, the guilty party would have to face imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
IPC section 270: According to this section of the Indian penal code which translates to malignant act likely to spread infection of disease danger¬ous to life, the guilty party would have to face imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The notification further read that considering the importance of patient support needed for complete and appropriate treatment, all tuberculosis patients are encouraged to self-notify themselves with their own details and that of treating medical practitioners.
It stated that to ensure proper diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, it is essential to collect complete information of all TB patients.
The Central Tuberculosis Division of the Union Health Ministry would be updating a list of contact details of all state tuberculosis officers and district tuberculosis officers concerned on the main TB website of the Union Government - tbcindia.gov.in and nikshay.gov.in.
Who: Union Government