16 October 2023 | News
Indian TB patients await BPaL treatment regimen despite its acceptance in 70 countries
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A group of experts have stressed the need for introducing the BPaL regimen in the tuberculosis (TB) control programme of the country, saying it offers not only a significantly shorter treatment duration but has a direct impact on treatment adherence, leading to improved outcomes.
In the fight against drug resistant (DR)-TB, the BPaL regimen which comprises three drugs – Bedaquiline, Pretomanid, and Linezolid, offers hope for a shorter, safer, and more tolerable treatment option.
This groundbreaking regimen, with a treatment duration of just 26 weeks, stands in stark contrast to the existing conventional treatment for DR-TB, which can require patients to take over 4,000 to 5,000 tablets over 18 to 21 months.
The BPaL regimen, which has received recommendations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019 and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2022, has already been rolled out in over 70 countries, including South Africa, Ukraine, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. Patient advocacy groups and healthcare professionals worldwide are joining forces to urge the Indian government to prioritize its implementation.
Blessina Kumar, Global Coalition of TB Advocates, expressed her eagerness for the BPaL regimen to be made available in India, stating, "Our TB patients have been suffering for far too long due to the gruelling and lengthy treatment regimens. The BPaL regimen promises a chance for a better quality of life. We urge the Indian government to prioritise the rollout of this regimen to help us achieve the End TB goals by 2025."
“Studies estimate an annual global savings of $740 million due to the adoption of this regimen. Given that India accounts for a third of the global multi-drug, rifampicin-resistant or MDR/RR-TB treated patients, this could translate to savings of nearly $250 million per year for our country,” added Blessina.
While the BPaL regimen has already proven its worth in numerous countries, India, with its high TB burden, is yet to introduce it into its treatment protocol. Advocates for TB patients and healthcare professionals are calling for immediate action to make this life-changing treatment option available to Indian patients.