New Tuberculosis drug unveiled in Nigeria

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The Nigerian government in collaboration with a Ukrainian company have introduced a new drug, Bitub Syrub into the Nigerian market to treat tuberculosis in the country. The child friendly syrup majorly targets children but is expected to serve adults too.

Speaking at the unveiling of the drug, the National Tuberculosis Coordinator, Dr. Adebola Lawanson, said that it will go a long way in reducing Nigeria TB burden. She noted that the Ukrainian company has been tested and trusted.

“They are Ukraine based companies, they are involved in the manufacturing of novel molecules of a particular drug, the drug has been with us for quite sometime but they are coming with different formulations, before now we normally have a hard tablet form of these drugs but they came with a syrup which we discovered is paediatrics friendly.

“Paediatric drugs is something that is not very easy for formulation so they came up with it and we are expecting them to come and demonstrate how effective, how stable pharmaceutically and clinically these drugs are that’s what they have come to show to us today so that we will be able to report to our organisations and the ministry to let them know whether its efficacious for the management of TB cases or TB cases of paediatrics in Nigeria” she said.

A representative of the Ukrainian Company manufacturing the syrup, Yuria-Pharm, Dr. Alex Denysov, said that the company decided to partner with Nigeria to phase out tuberculosis. He also said that the drug is not new as it has been used in other countries.

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“It’s easy to expand the market with the solution of the problem which are common for our people. The Ukrainian, Nigerian, Kenyan, Tanzanian, TB is very common for all of us. So if we are trying to give huge rocks, new entities to TB patients and to TB specialists its easy then they understand each other very good that’s why we are trying to start with this type because we have the next one decision for the severe ill TB patients,” he said.

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Local Production
BITUB-SYRUP is being marketed by Kliff and Helixor Pharmaceutical, a Nigerian based company. The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Dr. Cliff Ogbede, said that efforts are being made to produce the drug locally. He said that when the medication hits the market, it would gain acceptability because it is very easy to administer.

“It is highly efficient number, it is the first time we are having a syrup, it is paediatric friendly. That is the difference between those that are in the market, so this is the first time we have something children can consume since they are the number one primary target now and it is also very affordable. So, every normal home can afford it for the treatment of their children,” he said.

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On her part, the Programme Coordinator of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, Dr. Queen Ogbuji, pointed out that there was the need to seek ways of producing tuberculosis drugs in country.

She however said the drug is a welcome initiative as it is the only anti Tuberculosis drug used for preventive treatment of TB in immunotherapy mode. BITUB-SYRUP is expected to be taken for a maximum of six months by children for a total cure of tuberculosis.

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