There are some of the results of a study published on January 26th in the journal Lancet Global Health where we can see a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy TB scenario in India. India being one of the 12 high-burden countries where in providing health care the private sector plays a major role, Indian private health care sector there offers the cheapest price for the WHO-approved Xpert MTB/RIF, a molecular test for detecting TB. Besides this, India also is leading the list with highest private labs offering the test, as well as with 113 labs offering it at a sponsored rate.
Subsidized Test Cost
While it costs only Rs.2, 000 in the selected 113 labs with a novel initiative — Improving Access to Affordable & Quality TB Tests (IPAQT) — the charge goes between Rs.3, 500 and Rs.5, 000 in labs that are not a part of the IPAQT initiative.
What is IPAQT?
Improving Access to Affordable & Quality TB Tests (IPAQT) was launched in India in March 2013. Diagnostic labs registered under IPAQT initiative offers subsidized Xpert MTB/RIF to common people to make the process affordable to all. To know more on this initiative or to locate a lab near you where WHO-approved subsidized test is available, visit ipaqt.org site that provides the details of all labs across the country.
India’s Achievement in Fighting TB
As a result of the subsidized pricing contract with the manufacturer, there has been an increase in the number of people in India accessing the highly accurate diagnostic test since 2013. While 15,190 people availed the test between March and December 2013, the digit has gone up to 131,440 in 2015.
There are chances of a further drop in the cost of the test if the Indian government does not claim off customs duty of 31% levied on Xpert machine and reagents in future.