International support for compulsory license to address access barriers to life-saving TB medicines

TB CAB
Oct. 1, 2021, 2:21 p.m.
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Advocates urge the Indian government to issue compulsory licenses for patents on bedaquiline and delamanid to make the drugs more affordable and accessible.

On 30 September 2021, the Global Tuberculosis Community Advisory Board (TB CAB) sent an open letter to the Indian government expressing deep concern for patients struggling to access drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) treatment regimens that include bedaquiline (BDQ) and delamanid (DLM) in India. Increased access to both drugs is necessary to address the ongoing DR-TB crisis.

“We urge the Indian government to issue compulsory licenses for patents on BDQ and DLM to encourage and expedite Indian generics suppliers to make BDQ and DLM more affordable for the NTEP [National TB Elimination Program] and other treatment providers and accessible to communities that are being ravaged by the DR-TB crisis in India.”

The letter underlines that India accounts for 27% of the global burden of DR-TB and that TB, the leading infectious disease killer in the world until COVID-19, continues to be a global driver of antimicrobial resistance.

“We welcome the announcement of the new 2021 Guidelines on the Programmatic Management of Drug-Resistant TB (PMDT), in which the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recommends shifting to injectable-free regimens for DR-TB… An uninterrupted and continuous supply of BDQ and DLM is required for NTEP to scale up the new PMDT Guidelines and ensure optimized DR-TB treatment regimens are available across the country.”

To read the full letter, click here.