Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will be providing an additional 10,000 courses of bedaquiline free of charge to Indian patients through US Agency for International Development (USAID), for a total of 20,000 donated courses.
Earlier, 10, 000 courses of the drug to treat multi-drug resistant TB have been supplied through Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, J&J in 2016 as part of a global donation programme, operated in partnership with USAID under conditional access programme (CAP).
“Ensuring access to bedaquiline in India is a top priority for J&J, given the country’s high burden of MDR-TB,” said Paul Stoffels, vice chair of the Executive Committee and chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson, in a statement.
Following this, India will be able to procure bedaquiline via the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility at J&J’s special-effort price of $400, announced in July 2018. This price enables the company to support manufacturing, distribution and surveillance programmes to safeguard the antibiotic’s effectiveness, he added.
There are an estimated 135,000 new cases of drug-resistant TB in India every year, and currently less than 30% of these patients are diagnosed and put on an appropriate treatment regimen.
The government of India has set the ambitious goal of ending TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 2030.