Crucial anti-Tuberculosis (TB) drug Delamanid will now be available across India. Until currently, its supply was restricted to seven States.
On February 5, a letter from KS Sachdeva, head of Central TB Division in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), to all States requested them to send their requirement of Delamanid based on the estimated patient load in the 6-17 age group, which cannot be administered Bedaquiline.
A WHO report estimates that India has 1,47,000 multi-drug resistant (MDR) patients. MDR patients stop reacting to first-line TB medications and develop more complicated forms of the disease, where the rate of recovery reduces drastically.
The letter,which BusinessLine has seen, said, “The necessary requirements to implement Delamanid containing regimen are expected to be incorporated as per the Guidelines for use of Delamanid for treatment of drug-resistant TB in India. Necessary training for implementation of Delamanid will be scheduled soon.” As of now, only patients in Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep, had access to the drug. According to sources, the Health Ministry has received 400 courses of Delamanid from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In the letter, Sachdeva said that Delamanid will be offered to patients who have developed resistance to fluroquinolones and second-line injectibles.
Even as the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had given the go ahead for Delamanid in June 2017, the Health Ministry faced issues of lack of trained staff, identifying patients and framing guidelines, the sources said.
Sachdeva's letter also mentions that once initiated on the Delamanid regimen, a patient is expected to be monitored and information provided in a prescribed format on a regular basis to the TB Division.
Said TB activist Ganesh Acharya: “There is a huge gap in access to treatment and has been neglected by the drug industry for decades. Denial of, and restriction to, medication is also a violation of human rights.”