Statement |

MSF intervention on Global Strategy for TB at WHO 134th Executive Board meeting

134th WHO Executive Board meeting – Agenda item 6.1: Global strategy and targets for tuberculosis prevention, care and control after 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières welcomes the proposed global strategy and the post-2015 targets.

As one of the largest NGO providers of DR-TB care, treating 1,780 patients in 18 countries we are concerned at the increasing rates DR-TB. The new strategy highlights governmental commitment and accountability. The use of clear targets and indicators in country strategic plans is good and should be emphasised.

We are encouraged to see the Research and Innovation pillar. However, MSF wishes to highlight points which should be stronger.

Firstly, the R&D pillar has a number of oversights:

  • Although the importance of drug development is noted, there needs to be greater focus on the need for earlier studies combining new drugs, to accelerate the development of entirely new regimens.
     
  • R&D investment overall needs to dramatically increase to ensure that no area or population is neglected. Last year, only 30% of the TB R&D funding need was met. All Member States should increase their investments.
     
  • The strategy should embrace new models of innovation, emphasizing mechanisms such as prize funds that de-link the cost of R&D from the final product price.

Secondly, the post-2015 strategy needs to more clearly emphasize the importance of affordability to the TB response:

  • The high price of current tools, such as Xpert MTB/RIF, negatively impacts countries’ ability to implement and scale up of TB response.
     
  • R&D must include clear measures or indicators to ensure that end products are affordable - already new TB medicines are priced out of reach for low- and middle-income countries.
     
  • Measures to improve the affordability of medicines should be included, including pooled procurement, and the use of public health safeguards to reduce medicine prices.

MSF urges Member States to request the strengthening of the Research and Innovation pillar so that increased public investment and the affordability of new tools are given more prominence.