New TB drug to be available in the country - Fusion - WeRIndia

New TB drug to be available in the country from today

New TB drug to be available in the country from today

Good news to TB patients. Bedaquiline is going to be available from today in six government hospitals across the country. The ‘miracle drug’ is very helpful for patients who suffer from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively-drug resistant TB (XDR-TB). The availability of this drug is done by Janssen, the pharma arm of Johnson & Johnson that manufactured the drug with the coordination of government.

The trade name of Bedaquiline is Sirturo and it is probably the first drug that is likely to reduce the number of people who die from TB especially MDR-TB.

The number of deaths from TB has been increasing in India alarmingly and nearly 23% of global deaths i.e. 220,000 occurred in 2014 because of it. The lung disease by bacteria is spread mainly through coughing and sneezing. Around 2.2 million people are suffering from TB in India out of 70,000 are suffering from MDR-TB.

According to Sanjiv Navangul, Janssen India MD, they are ready to unveil the drug through the government-run control programme. For this, 600 patients from all over the country will be enrolled for the coming six to nine months, after conducting the necessary tests. Later, the clinical data will be reviewed which follows the expansion throughout the country. All this will take at least two years of time.

At present, the cost Bedaquiline and Delamanid is very high and the treatment for MDR-TB is 10 times more than that of normal TB treatment. It ranges between $5,000-10,000 as per the estimate of WHO. Janssen wants to offer the drug at tiered-pricing. For instance, the countries that have moderate income will get the drug for $3,000 and countries that have low income will get it for $900. Yet, the price is not confirmed. The company said that therapy is not a business and they will be flexible in deciding the pricing. The price will be fixed after discussing with the government, the company added.

Image Credit: Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash (Free for commercial use)

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