Ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, government has launched Bedaquiline, a new class of anti-tuberculosis medicine discovered to specifically treat drug resistant TB in India. The drug which has been approved by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the treatment of pulmonary multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in combination with an optimized background regimen was launched by the Health Minister J P Nadda today.
In the first phase, the drug will be available in six public hospitals across the country to 600 patients. The treatment by this drug will be under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme and is part of co-ordinated programme between the government and Johnson & Johnson.
“The new anti-TB drug and is indicated for use in the treatment of drug-resistant TB. Bedaquiline is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India. These sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care for patients.
“Bedaquiline will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB,” said a senior Health Ministry official.
Drug resistant TB poses a major threat to control of TB worldwide. An estimated 2.2 million people were found to be suffering from TB in India in 2014 with over 70,000 MDR-TB patients. India accounts for 23 per cent of the global total case of TB.