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New drug for TB patients

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A new drug will be made available to people who suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a pharmaceutical company said on Monday. It would be available from next year, said technical and medical affairs director of Janssen-Cilag, Abeda Williams.

The administration of Sirturo, also known as Bedaquiline, was recently approved by the Medicines Control Council. The drug would be made available in the public sector and could be administered by adults, including people living with HIV, who were not taking antiretroviral medicine.

“Approximately 3000 South African patients who suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis will now be able to receive Bedaquiline,” Williams said.

“A total of 6000 patients are expected to be treated in the second year,” she said.

Dr Francesca Conradie from NGO Right to Care welcomed the use of the drug.

“The government recognised the dire need to make this new TB treatment option available for the people who need it most… for my patients and patients around the country [it] will make a tremendous difference in their overall health and quality of life,” said Conradie.

According to Janssen-Cilag, South Africa had the second-highest rate of new TB cases in the world and the highest rate of drug-resistant TB on the continent. Around 73 percent of TB patients were living with HIV. SAPA

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