Bihar Legislative Assembly in October 2016 passed Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, which prohibited the use of all types of alcohol, including methylated spirit and ethanol for medical purposes and in laboratories across the state. Following the ban, laboratories in Bihar have been fast running out of essential ingredients to conduct tuberculosis (TB) tests, The Indian Express reported today. Untill an alternative arrangement was made, laboratories which have been sourcing supplies from the open market under the cover of buying reagents, were asked to use to use Injecta – a type of methylated spirit. But as per the IE report, Injecta has a falsification rate of over 40 per cent. Sources said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has now taken note of the matter.
As per the report, Bihar has 732 designated microscopy labs and 60 fluorescent microscopy labs besides the Intermediate Reference Library at Patna to test TB. In a year, together these labs need approximately 2,000 litres of ethanol and methylated spirit to test TB. Meanwhile, the officials reportedly said that when the ban came into force, the labs had stocks of spirit and ethanol to last only four-six months, most of which were exhausted by September-October 2016.