New data shows TB kills more people than HIV/AIDS, time for quality drugs

A report published by Roger Bate, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of Safe Medicines Coalition, suggests that the world is at greater risks of tuberculosis than it probably is from HIV/AIDS.

A World Health Organization’s (WHO) report revealed that about 1.5 million people died in 2014 from tuberculosis infection, much larger than the number of people that died from HIV/AIDS complications in the same year. WHO further added that TB might emerge to be the leading infectious killer in the world if it is not reigned in.

Tuberculosis is an infection that is transmitted by inhaling or ingesting the tubercle bacilli, and it manifests in fever and small lesions, usually in the lungs and in other parts of the body in acute stages.

Health experts stated that one of the most effective ways to address the growing concern of TB among the nations is to expand research efforts into the disease, while also creating better access to treatment options – considering the necessity for quality drugs.

Bate noted that quality and effective drugs are paramount to treating TB among other public health efforts. He noted that the pharmacological problem bedeviling the health industry is fake and substandard drugs.

According to Bate, “Falsified medicines are illegal or bogus medicines made by counterfeiters to appear to be legitimate medicines,” he said. “Substandard medicines are superficially legal medicines that, when manufactured with poor quality control, means they fail to meet minimum quality requirements. In some instances, this may be a small regulatory violation, in others it can be criminal negligence.”

The importance quality and effective drugs for TB cannot be overemphasized. The disease is caused by a bacterial infection, and fake or substandard drugs could imperil the health of the patient and make him/her to get worse and even die. And to this extent, fake and substandard drugs are contributing to TB infections that become multidrug-resistant, making the disease more deadlier and more expensive to treat – about $400,000 instead of the average $1,000 that should have been used to treat a patient.

This brings to the fore the issue of pharmacovigilance – a situation whereby government agencies monitor quality drugs and track the adverse reactions that patients develop to medicines.

Pharmacovigilance is noted to be a major part of the healthcare systems, even though many countries cannot fully practice it because it can be laborious and costly to track the quality and safety of any particular medicine, and also monitor patients for reactions to its use.