Even as the Indian government lobbies for waiver of patents on Covid treatment-related technologies at the World trade organization, it is yet to move on TB patients‘appeal for a compulsory licence on two new TB drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid, required for the treatment of drug-resistant TB.
On the eve of World TB Day on March 24, activists fighting for expanded access to these drugs pointed out that less than a third of patients who need these drugs have received them.
A public interest petition had been filed in the Bombay HC by TB survivor Meera Yadav and public health activist and survivor Brinelle D’Souza seeking direction to the government to issue a compulsory license to override the patent on the drugs held by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, USA and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Japan.
The petitioners said the government was relying on donations of these drugs by the two companies which were a minuscule quantity compared to what was required. “It has not been able to procure the drugs as tenders have failed and they are being sold at high prices by Janssen and Otsuka”.