This study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital in south India to evaluate the association of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) in diabetic subjects. There were: 361 subjects with positive mycobacterial culture and susceptibility tests results over a 3-year period; 267 (74%) acid-fast bacillus smear positive; and 94 (26%) smear negative cases. One hundred and seventy-seven (49%) had resistant isolates to any one first line antiTB drugs (resistant group) and 184 (51%) had isolates sensitive to all drugs (non-resistant group). In the resistant and non-resistant subjects the mean duration of TB symptoms was, respectively, 22 months and 4.5 months, past history of TB 126 (71%) and 48 (26%), past antiTB drug therapy 126 (71%) and 47 (25%), inadequate anti TB drug therapy 42 (24%) and 23 (13%), HIV positive six and 13 subjects. There were 72 diabetic subjects [35 and 37, respectively] with a duration of diabetes 5.8 +/- 7.5 years and 3.7 +/- 5.0 years in the resistant and non-resistant groups. Twenty-six per cent of the diabetic subjects (19/72) had multi-drug resistantTB. Drug resistance to first line anti-TB drugs was not found to be associated with diagnosis or duration of diabetes mellitus.