Fund Crunch Hits Indian Drug Trial

Jacob Koshy | The Hindu | February 27, 2016

Three years after the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said it would conduct a drug trial to test a novel drug-regimen for tuberculosis (TB), lack of funds is throttling the project, several officials involved with the project told The Hindu on condition of anonymity. “The project is in the ICU (intensive care unit),” said an officer, “and unless the CSIR takes a decision it is likely to die.”

In January 2014, the Drug Controller General of India — the referee for drug trials in the country — approved a phase 2b trial (a limited test of a prospective drug in humans to prove its potency) to test a combination of three TB drugs to treat multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The promise of this combination — called PaMZ (PA-824 + moxifloxacin + pyrazinamide) — is to cut treatment time by at least a third. Moreover, it was purportedly effective even when tested on HIV patients.

The drug, developed in collaboration with the international Global Alliance on Tuberculosis, was to enter phase 3, or large-scale trials last year in South Africa. However, there are reviews that are reconsidering these trials on the grounds that it hasn’t worked as well as it was supposed to in HIV patients...