India Is To Produce World's First Child-Friendly TB Drug
The child-friendly pills, which are a combination of two or more medicines in a fixed dose combination (FDC), had been newly introduced within the government's tuberculosis control program in six states, and will now be launched privately and through government centers in the whole of India this year.
According to World Health Organization, one million children catch tuberculosis every year, while it kills over 400 daily, across the globe.
The child-friendly medication could prove to be a game-changer in access to therapy. India has around 75,000 pediatric tuberculosis cases and 1,7 million adult patients as per government calculations.
"India will be the first country in the world to offer the largest number of kid-friendly FDCs, by the end of the year," said Dr. Sunil Khaparde, DDG, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Although curable, tuberculosis treatment consists of multiple drugs taken for a minimum of six months. When treating kids, it 's hard to estimate the correct dose by manually mixing several drugs together. Splitting the pills results in a bitter taste as well as imprecise dosage.
As The Times Of India reports this week, most companies don't launch improved medication due to an absence of "commercial" opportunity and "low margins."
"We have supplied pediatric drugs for 200 000 children in 36 countries since December 2015. In 2017, a roll out will happen in both the public and private space, and about 15,000 children will be treated from those supplies," Vijay Agarwal, Macleods Pharmaceuticals representative stated.
"Timely diagnosis is the weakest link in India. In the public sector, TB remains undetected because doctors rely on old techniques like sputum smears, while empirical antibiotic therapies and non-specific tests like X-rays in the private sector don't help," answered Madhukar Pai, associate director, McGill International TB Centre, Canada.