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Can new TB drug be given to patient: HC asks Centre

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre and a city-based TB hospital whether it can make available to a patient, suffering from an extensively drug resistant variant of the disease, a new medicine which is not available in the market and is only supplied by the manufacturer.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the Lal Ram Swarup (LRS) TB hospital to file an affidavit stating whether the 18-year-old female patient meets the requirements under the WHO guidelines and Revised National TB Control programme for being treated by Bedaquiline, made by US drug company Johnson and Johnson.

The court asked the hospital to also respond to the contention, by an expert in the field of TB treatment, that it was not following the guidelines by calling for further drug sensitivity tests before administering the drug, which according to the patient’s father is the last option for her.

The father, Kaushal Tripathi, has sought that if the hospital was not willing to take the risk of administering the drug without further tests then he be provided the medicine and he will get it administered by some other hospital or doctor.

The hospital, in its defence, said that it was following the protocols put in place for administering the drug and same cannot be flouted by it.

The court, however, said that sometimes in the medical profession judgement calls are made after informing the patient about the risk and same can be done in the instant case.

It said that in the case the patient was willing to take the risk.

It also said that either the drug would cure her or will speed up the end-result of the illness.

The court asked the central government and the hospital to file their affidavits within three days and listed the matter for hearing on January 9.

Tripathi in his plea has also sought easier access to the medicine as it is available only at the six TB centres in India.

According to the petitioner, there is a second drug — Delamanid by Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Pharma — but it is not available in India and would need to be imported.

PTI