Tuberculosis war chest gets one more weapon
The arsenal for treating childhood tuberculosis is set to get broader with the possible introduction of yet another anti-TB medication.
Isoniazid, made by Ukrainian drug maker YURiA-Pharm is expected formally presented on the Nigerian market this October by a combination of Nigerian health authorities and representatives of the drug maker.
The drug, named after its active ingredient, is described as a “paediatric friendly” syrup for use in children with complications from BCG vaccination and those who have been in contact with TB patients. The active ingredients has been around as tablets before now.
This reach out to private sector is significant to TB treatment in Nigeria, says Adebola Lawanson, national coordinator of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme.
“Except for ancilliary medicine, which are allowed to provided in the country, the drugs for TB, because of the emergence of drug-resistant TB, we don’t buy locally made drugs to treat it,” said Lawanson in a statement.
“Even the drugs to treat the uncomplicated TB…we get from an accredited source. The essence is to have quality assured medicine because of the risk of using medicine from all sorts of places that can lead to drugresistant TB which is the most dangerous one that has higher mortality.”
Nigeria doesn’t produce TB drugs. It buys from the Global Drug Facility. Private sector bankrolling the purchase will not come at a negotiated price.
“We want a negotiated price that will enable us treat more patients with lease amount of resources,” said Lawanson.
Isoniazid will be only one of few formulations for TB treatment, but the drug maker behind the project plans to “build a plant in Nigeria,” said Cliff Ogbede, chief executive at the Nigerian pharmaceutical firm Kleef & Helixor, which is YURiA’s representative in Nigeria.
He said having plant in the country “will enable us to satisfy the local market, improve the health of TB patients in Nigeria and equally export to the neighbouring countries within the region.”