DR-TB Drugs Under the Microscope

Photograph by Sydelle Willow Smith
Sinethemba takes her daily regimen for XDR-TB at 10am each day. She also takes two additional delamanid tablets at night. She is 16 years old, lives with her grandmother, Vuyisiwa Madubela, and four other family members in a two-bedroomed home in Zone C29, Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa. Her grandmother’s determination and love, combined with receiving a six-month trial of one the newest DR-TB drugs on the market likely saved her life this year.

Drug resistance is a major public health crisis thwarting the effective treatment and care of people living with tuberculosis (TB) – the world’s leading infectious disease killer. But with the release of new curative medicines and patient-minded improvements of treatment guidelines, drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) no longer has to be a death sentence.

However, countries, policymakers and health care providers tasked with reaching and treating people living with DR-TB must take concrete actions to get lifesaving medicines to the people who need them most.

The 6th edition of DR-TB Drugs Under the Microscope examines the current landscape of DR-TB drug pricing and access policies and outlines five urgent actions for governments, policymakers and health care providers: adopt new treatment guidelines; lower the price of breakthrough drugs; surmount prohibitive patents and licensing policies; implement effective drug procurement practices; and support public health-driven research and development (R&D).