MSF Statement at the 72nd WHA: Follow-up to UN High-Level Meeting on Ending Tuberculosis (Agenda Item 11.8)
72nd WHO World Health Assembly – May 2019
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement on agenda item 11.8: Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Ending tuberculosis, Document A72/20
Speaker: Khairunisa Suleiman
As the report by the Director General states, poor access to treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) represents a public health crisis.
For too long, people with DR-TB have gone undiagnosed and untreated. Only one in four people with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) receive treatment, and of those, barely half are cured.
Today, Member States have an opportunity to substantially increase cure rates and avert horrible side effects associated with older, toxic drugs by switching to newer, all-oral bedaquiline-containing MDR-TB treatment regimens – recommended as the new standard by WHO.
MSF asks that Member States rapidly update national guidelines to include all-oral bedaquiline-containing MDR-TB treatment regimens and stop treating MDR-TB with painful injectable drugs. Member States should ensure that every person treated for MDR-TB receives this optimal treatment by World TB Day, March 2020.
In order to ensure the development of improved TB treatments, and ensure that new innovations are available and affordable, we ask that Member States support pro-access R&D policies and strategies.
Member States should reject TB R&D proposals that block or deter the full use of TRIPS flexibilities, including compulsory licensing, and should reject value-based pricing and tiered pricing models for TB medicines, diagnostics and vaccines, as these strategies to maximise profits needlessly inflate prices and curtail affordable access.
To save lives, the agreed-upon TB R&D core principles of affordability, efficiency, equity and collaboration must be actively safeguarded.
We ask that Member States ensure prices of TB medicines, diagnostics and vaccines are transparent, fair and affordable, and reflect public sector contributions to R&D.
We ask that Member States commit to transparency of TB R&D costs and invest in TB innovation through open-source collaborative research, prize funds and milestone payments that result in medical innovations without monopoly control.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement on agenda item 11.8: Follow-up to the highlevel meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: Ending tuberculosis, Document A72/20
Hey Johnson & Johnson!
Make this lifesaving TB drug $1/day to save more lives!
In our own clinics we see people’s lives saved by bedaquiline.
Yet in 2018, only 1 in 5 people worldwide who could benefit were given access to bedaquiline.
We call on the drug corporation Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to recognise the joint research effort that went into the development of bedaquiline - a lifesaving TB drug developed with public funding and the contributions of the TB research community yet out of reach for many people living with TB.
But it is not up to J&J alone to set the price and control who gets access to bedaquiline and who does not.
J&J did not make this drug alone; they benefited from public and philanthropic funding, while the TB research community and treatment providers like MSF significantly contributed to the scientific evidence on bedaquiline’s therapeutic benefit.
Today we are demanding at J&J’s annual shareholder meeting that the company recognises the public’s right to a say in who can access this drug and to bring the price of bedaquiline down to a dollar a day.
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The Tajik Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began a comprehensive paediatric tuberculosis (TB) care programme in 2011. The paediatric TB project in Dushanbe aims to decrease the TB morbidity and mortality rates among children and their family members. In 2013, MSF documented this, producing a report about improving paediatric TB care.
Following the progress made in treating paediatric TB in Tajikistan, MSF produced a follow-up report titled Breaking the cycle: Paediatric DR-TB detection, care and treatment in Tajikistan. This new report documents the progress made during the last five years, and reflects on the sustainability of the programme and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.