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Six months after launch of ‘miracle’ drug bedaquiline — the most effective treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis — the Indian government has enrolled a mere 36 patients.
Bedaquiline is used exclusively to treat patients who have failed to respond to second-line anti-TB medicines.
India had received a donation of 300 doses from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with another batch of 300 doses to be donated next year.
Nations like South Africa,Swaziland or even Belarus have accomplished alot. They have put nearly 5% of their MDR TB patients on bedaquiline within a year.
As part of a Compassionate Access Programme (CAP), the pharmaceutical company Janssen that holds the patent for this drug, had donated 600 doses to USAID, which gave half of the medicines to Indian government in March this year.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India shoulders 71,000 multidrug resistant tuberculosis patients.
Nearly 10 per cent of all multi-drug resistant TB patients have extensively drug resistant TB or XDR-TB — “resistant to any fluoroquinolone, and at least one of three second-line injectable drugs (capreomycin, kanamycin and amikacin), in addition to multidrug resistance.”