TB drugs made easier to take for children make debut

Mumbai-based Macleods Pharmaceuticals witnessed the launch this week of its child-friendly TB drugs at the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa. The drugs are available for what experts are calling an unbelievably low price of $15.54 for a 6-month course of treatment. The World Health Organization says 1 million children annually fall prey to TB and it is hoped that the new drugs will reduce drug acquired resistance because they are designed for children who previously received adult treatments that were split to cut the dose to match the child's size. The pediatric dosage launched by the TB Alliance is a fixed dose combination of rifampicin, isoniazid, and pyrazinamide. "These are not new drugs, but rather improved formulations that are dissolvable and flavoured so that they are simple for providers and parents to administer and easy for children to take," the TB Alliance said, according to a report by the Times of India. "The formulations are in the process of being prequalified by WHO but are now available under the WHO's Expert Review Panel mechanism," the alliance said. "If we are to end the TB epidemic by 2030, we must bring children with TB out of the shadows and ensure they are properly diagnosed, treated and cured," said Mario Raviglione, WHO director of the Global TB Programme, speaking at the Cape Town launch, according to the Times report. "The new fixed-dose formulations for children will offer hope for the 400 children who needlessly die of TB each day. Urgent action is needed to ensure these medicines reach those in need and rapidly improve child survival from TB." Report