It has been reported that India is home to the highest number of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases. Currently, bedaquiline and delamanid are the two drugs recommended to be used in case of tuberculosis, which presents are resistant to commonly used medications. And in a bid to treat patients who present with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the government of Telangana has acquired the drug bedaquiline.
The drug is currently available only with the Central government, which allocates the drug to the public health sectors of the states, depending on the need of each state.
Bedaquiline is available for distribution through nodal health care centres in Warangal and Hyderabad at present.
As per the World Health Organisation guidelines, bedaquiline is recommended in cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, if the standard drug regimen is not effective or if there is resistance to the drug fluoroquinolone.
Of around 2.79 million cases of TB reported in India in 2016, over 10% were found to be resistant to the standard regimen of treatment, consisting of the first line drugs Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide.
Resistance to tuberculosis is attributed to a multitude of reasons. āA patient with tuberculosis has to undergo treatment for six months. But this becomes a problem because patient compliance falls considerably and many patients stop taking medications. This has significantly contributed to the onset of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis,ā notes Dr Suresh, an Intensive Care Specialist from Chennai.
According to reports, there are over 1,200 cases of multidrug-resistant TB cases in Telangana state, but only a select number of them are eligible to be started on bedaquiline, based on various criteria for the drug.
In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a plan to eliminate tuberculosis in the country by 2025, by introducing a āNational Strategic Planā to treat everyone in the country who was afflicted with tuberculosis.