NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha member T.N. Prathapan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that all patients who require injection-free treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) with Bedaquiline and Delamanid get the treatment.
He said that the absence of the required number of doses of these two drugs will result in poor scale-up of multi-drug- resistant tuberculosis (MD/RTB) treatment.
The letter reads, “Under the revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), Bedaquiline and Delamanid are currently available in few cities. But the drugs are not part of the National List of Essential Medicines.”
The MP has urged the PM to direct the health ministry to initiate steps to include these multi-drug- resistant tuberculosis drugs in the national list of essential medicines.
The letter also asks the PM to put an end to dependency on drug donation and take measures to initiate the domestic generic production of Bedaquiline and Delamanid either through a government user license under Section 100 of the Patents Acts or a compulsory license under Section 92 covering life saving drugs for drug-resistant TB.
Mr Prathapan said, “These medicines are under patent monopoly and, therefore, there is no generic availability of these lifesaving medicines in our country.”
“Instead of taking steps to start the domestic generic production of these essential medicines under RNTCP the country is depending on the donation, and charity pricing from the originator companies to treat patients,” he said.
The MP argued that given that India is amongst the highest TB burden countries in the world, the quantities of these two drugs donated to the RNTCP are grossly inadequate to treat the DR-TB population in the country.
He claimed that this dependency on donation is also resulting in the denial of efficacious treatment and the right to health guaranteed under the constitution.
“Once the donation programme is over, the government would have to purchase these drugs at high prices,” it added.