Three more hospitals in India get approval to administer bedaquiline

Apart from KEM, Nair Hospital, Sion Hospital and Govandi’s Shatabdi Hospital will be able to administer bedaquiline to drug-resistant tuberculosis patients.

A year after the successful trial of a wonder drug used in the treatment of drug-resistant Tuberculosis, the health ministry has given its approval to three more centres in the city to conduct the procedure.

Till now, 180 test subjects have responded well to the Bedaquiline treatment regimen. As a result, under the revised national tuberculosis control program (RNTCP), the health ministry gave its go-ahead to three more centres in Mumbai apart from KEM Hospital.

Now, Nair hospital in Byculla, LTMG Sion hospital, Shatabdi hospital in Govandi have been authorised for the wonder drug treatment.

The medication will be administered to a select group of patients – those diagnosed with multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains of the bacteria.

Bedaquiline, manufactured by Belgian pharma major Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, received safety and effectiveness clearances from US Food and Drug Administration in December 2014 after multiple trails worldwide and is recognised by the World Health Organisation as an “essential drug” in treating TB. A sixmonth course of the medication will cost the government Rs 2 lakh per patient.

In 2016, under the RNTCP programme the health ministry had started Bedaquiline trials at six public health facilities — namely the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), Chennai; the National Institute of TB and Respiratory Diseases (NITRD), New Delhi; Rajan Babu Institute for Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis, New Delhi; Sewri Hospital, Mumbai; BJ Medical College & Hospital, Ahmedabad and Government Medical College, Guwahati to treat 600 patients.

In Mumbai, so far, 180 drug resistance patients have benefited under the supervision of KEM Hospital doctors.

Elaborating on the course, Dr Daksha Shah, head of the city’s TB control programme said. “We have already permitted the new centres to identify the patients eligible for Bedaquiline regimen and registered them under RNTCP. Those selected will be treated with a combination of Bedaquiline and other medications.”

She said reports detailing the medical history and documents related to the pathology of the strain of TB affecting the patients have been dispatched to the central TB division in Delhi.

“We are using the guidelines recommended by the WHO in determining the course of treatment.” Dr Shah said adding that pregnant women and children will not be part of the target recipients.

According to a recent WHO estimate, up to half a million new cases of MDR TB are reported worldwide each year. The existing treatment regimen lasts up to 20 months or more and requires daily doses of medication that is deemed “more toxic, less effective and far more expensive” when compared to Bedaquiline. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in its national strategic plan, proposes to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025.

Dr Vikas Oswal, who has treated thousands of drug-resistant cases in Govandi, Mankhurd and Shivaji Nagar, told Mirror, “Earlier we used to refer the patients to KEM Hospital for Bedaquiline treatments. Now, I am glad that we can treat them in Govandi Shatabdi Hospital itself.”

Source: Mumbai Mirror

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By Lata Mishra

Published: Feb. 8, 2018, 10:05 p.m.

Last updated: Feb. 8, 2018, 11:14 p.m.

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