21 March 2018 - Of the estimated 600,000 people who were newly infected with MDR-TB in 2016, only 130,000 began treatment. An estimated 240,000 people died from the disease the same year. Although two promising newer drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, have been on the market for more than four years, patient's access to them remains unacceptably limited. As of February 2018, only 16,069 people worldwide had received bedaquiline and only 1,247 people had received delamanid. In addition to scale-up, reporting of treatment outcomes is needed to inform future World Health Organization's treatment guidelines.
Statement from Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB Advisor, MSF Access Campaign:
"Five years ago, we saw a ray of hope with two new drugs to treat tuberculosis: bedaquiline and delamanid. These medicines promised a more effective treatment regimen for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), offering shorter, all-oral treatment with fewer side effects and better clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, uptake of these newer drugs has been abysmally slow. The majority of people treated for MDR-TB continue to receive older medicines that can cause severe side effects - such as deafness and psychosis - and cure only 50% of people who receive them. As a treatment provider, MSF is disheartened to see governments still not doing enough to scale up access to newer drugs that provide a real chance of survival for people who continue to die from the world's leading infectious disease killer. It's way past time to step up and treat TB."
MSF has been involved in TB care for 30 years, often working alongside national health authorities to treat patients in a wide variety of settings, including chronic conflict zones, urban slums, prisons, refugee camps and rural areas. In 2016, MSF supported more than 20,000 TB patients on treatment, including 2,700 patients with drug-resistant forms of TB.