MSF report and call to action: Promising new TB drugs are not reaching patients
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
A new report from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) highlights disappointment in how little has changed in terms of global access to new TB treatments over the last two years. This is despite the development of two new drugs to treat drug-resistant TB – the first for over 50 years. 
The MSF press release for the report states:
“The reality has not yet matched our hopes. In the intervening two years, companies and researchers have received awards, accolades and reams of media coverage for introducing two new drugs to tackle TB, but meanwhile patients are largely stuck facing the same dismal outcomes they have for decades. To date, fewer than 1,000 people worldwide have been able to access the two new TB drugs – bedaquiline (made by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) and delamanid (made by Otsuka) – just a fraction of those who desperately need them.”
The report includes an analysis of why progress has been so slow.
MSF and more than 80 other organisations have signed a call to action for a new a consortium to speed up change that the World Health Organization (WHO) will convene.
Three key goals are:
- To quick start access to new drugs. To ensure 500 patients are started on regimens that include bedaquiline by July 2015, and 500 patients are started on regimens that include delamanid by January 2016.
- To optimise DR-TB treatment. Provide technical assistance for implementation plans for the top 25 endemic countries by 2016. Ensure the two new TB drugs are part of routine treatment in 20 countries by the end of 2016 and 52 countries by the end of 2019. And ensure that key re-purposed drugs are in use by the national TB programmes.
- Prioritise regulatory approvals. Ensure that both new drugs have been filed for registration in 25 countries by the beginning of 2016 and in 52 countries by 2017. To ensure that the drugs are registered for use, or import waivers are in place, by 2016.
- MSF press statement. Ready, set, slow down: new and promising DR-TB drugs are grabbing headlines but not reaching patients. (14 May 2015).
- MSF call to action. Accelerate access to DR-TB drugs.