The 18-year-old from Patna with severe Tuberculosis (TB), who the Delhi high court recently permitted to access the new anti-TB drug Bedaquiline arrived in Mumbai on Friday. She was admitted to PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, under the observation of chest physician, Dr Zarir Udwadia, who will administer the drug to her.
Her parents and sister accompanied her and said they are hopeful the new drug will improve her condition.
“Doctors evaluated her and said she is a little weak right now. They will start treatment from Monday onwards, once her condition improves a little,” her sister, Neha Tripathi told HT.
Access to Bedaquiline in India is strictly regulated, with only six government centres — two in Delhi and one each in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Chennai — providing the drug to local patients.
The girl’s father was forced to approach the court as his daughter was refused Bedaquiline at the Lala Ram Sarup TB Hospital on the grounds that she was not a Delhi resident.
On January 20, the court allowed the girl to access the drug and said she will be administered Bedaquiline at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, under Dr Zarir Udwadia’s supervision. She had consulted Dr Udwadia previously and wanted him to treat her.
The court said the patient’s residence cannot be not a criterion for eligibility to receive Bedaquiline under the government’s conditional access programme. “I am happy with the hearing. The domicile rule no longer stands,” said advocate Anand Grover from Lawyers’ Collective, the group which fought the girl’s case.
In Mumbai, 56 patients are on Bedaquiline as part of a government-run trial TB Hospital, Sewri. Doctors say most of them are doing well.