There are lots of illnesses or conditions for which a pill a day can make better in most nations across the world. In fact, many people believe that pills can cure any ill that comes their way, no matter how large or small. Most of the time, it works and you get better. However, there has been more disturbing news about drug-resistant tuberculosis in India as a result of giving out antibiotics perhaps a little too freely.
TB was once a common disease that killed thousands of people. In many areas of the world, TB is still common. India, a country with over one billion people, is one of these countries. It also adds 99,000 cases of drug-resistant TB to its disease roster every year. Drug-resistant TB means that the most common front line drugs, such as Isoniazid, Rifampin, Ethambutol, and Pyrazinamide, no longer work, or only work in conjunction with other drugs. People with common strains of TB can take one of these drugs, but must complete the entire cycle, or the strain of TB comes back stronger and is harder to defeat. This is what we’re seeing in India.
A quarter of the world’s cases of TB are found in India. Twenty percent of the world’s drug resistant cases are found there. The reason so many cases of drug-resistant TB can be found in India is directly linked to the country’s poorly run government treatment program and a lack of regulating the drugs people are given.
The private market has done a lot to help the numbers spike because over-the-counter antibiotics are so easy to get. The TB programs also only give treatment to patients on alternative days. It can take six to nine months to cure TB – if the patient is given the right antibiotic the whole time. Many of the Indian TB patients are poor wage laborers who miss doses of their medication, making TB worse for them, as well as others. Add this to Indian doctors who do not understand how to treat the disease, and prescribe the wrong medication.
What’s even more terrifying is that this past January, Indian doctors reported the first case of totally drug resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB). Not one type of the literally dozens of medicines used to treat TB worked. And cases of drug resistant TB are worldwide, many of the patients with ties to India, either through family or jobs that required recent visits.
How this disease will affect the world in the future is unknown. However, as with TB, there are other diseases that require patients taking the full course of medication. Otherwise side effects and risks of some of these drugs will be the least of the world’s problems.
Please contact an experienced drug liability doctor in your area today if you believe your illness is due to negligent health care.