Early bactericidal activity of tuberculosis drugs is conventionally assessed using statistical regression modeling of colony forming unit (CFU) counts over time. Typically, most CFU counts deviate little from the regression curve, but gross outliers due to erroneous sputum sampling are occasionally present and can markedly influence estimates of the rate of change in CFU count, which is the parameter of interest. A recently introduced Bayesian nonlinear mixed effects regression model was adapted to offer a robust approach that accommodates both outliers and potential skewness in the data. At its most general, the proposed regression model fits the skew Student t distribution to residuals and random coefficients. Deviance information criterion statistics and compound Laplace-Metropolis marginal likelihoods were used to discriminate between alternative Bayesian nonlinear mixed effects regression models. We present a relatively easy method to calculate the marginal likelihoods required to determine compound Laplace-Metropolis marginal likelihoods, by adapting methods available in currently available statistical software. The robust methodology proposed in this paper was applied to data from 6 clinical trials. The results provide strong evidence that the distribution of CFU count is often heavy tailed and negatively skewed (suggesting the presence of outliers). Therefore, we recommend that robust regression models, such as those proposed here, should be fitted to CFU count.