Health groups call on Government of India to urgently make lifesaving TB drug available
People living with MDR and XDR-TB are receiving inadequate treatment in India, all too often people die as they can’t access the medication needed to compose a suitable treatment regimen for them. Otsuka has denied us access to the new anti TB drug delamanid for a really long time. We urge the Indian government to direct the company to register the drug and to ensure that it is supplied to the TB Programme. If the pharmaceutical corporation does not make the drug available in the country, the Ministry of Health should proceed to find generic suppliers for government use. Doing so will save many thousands of lives.
Paul Lhungdim, The Delhi Network of Positive People
The recent court case before the Delhi High Court highlights the urgent need for newer TB drugs to be made accessible to patients with M/XDR-TB, as a matter of right. Delamanid is a critical new medicine to manage M/XDR-TB especially for younger patients and its non-availability is unacceptable. It is high time that both the Japanese pharmaceutical corporation Otsuka and the concerned government health authorities prioritise access to it to the public in need, and promote rational use of anti TB drugs.
Dr. Gopal Dabade, All India Drug Action Network
Otsuka Pharmaceuticals has not initiated the process of making delamanid available in the Indian market. Not working the patents on delamanid is adversely affecting people living with MDR and XDR-TB. The government should intervene and direct Otsuka to provide the drug under the RNTCP.
Anand Grover, Lawyers Collective
Patents are not granted merely to enable the patentee to enjoy a monopoly, but on the condition that the patent holder make the drug available in the country, yet more than eight years since delamanid was first granted a patent in India the drug is still not accessible to TB patients diagnosed with drug resistant strains. It’s beyond unacceptable to know that there are medicines out there that could offer hope to people with DR-TB who have exhausted all other treatment options, but that so few people have access to them. What’s the point of a new potentially life-saving treatment if the people who need it the most cannot access it?
Leena Menghaney, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is defined as TB that is resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful TB drugs. Extensively Drug-Resistant TB (XDR-TB) is resistant to at least four of the core anti-TB drugs which include – isoniazid, rifampicin, any of the fluoroquinolones (such as levofloxacin or moxifloxacin) and at least one of the three injectable second-line drugs (amikacin, capreomycin or kanamycin).
Bedaquiline was recently in the news when a case was brought before the Delhi High Court by the father of an XDR-TB patient who had been denied access to the drug because she was not a resident of Delhi. This came from the eligibility criteria for the Conditional Access Programme under, which bedaquiline is available, that restricted access to the drug to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai or Guwahati - the five cities where the six centres rolling out the drug are located. In a landmark case the Delhi High Court passed an order clearly stating that residential proof/domicile is not necessary criteria to be able to access the life-saving drug. http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_O.asp?pn=11539&yr=2017