Bottle of bedaquiline, Zhytomyr Regional TB Dispensary, Ukraine. In 2018, MSF started providing treatment for drug-resistant TB to people in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk
Letter |

Ukraine: Open Letter: Urgent action by Johnson & Johnson needed to improve equitable access to bedaquiline-based regimens in all countries with a high burden of tuberculosis

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Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk

The Public Health Center of the Ministry of Ukraine (PHC) sent this open letter to the US pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requesting urgent action to improve equitable access to the lifesaving TB drug bedaquiline in Ukraine, and all other countries with a high burden of TB.

This is the second instance of a country TB programme taking a firm stance and demanding J&J grant freedom of access to more affordable generic versions of bedaquiline. The first call came from Belarus on 11th July 2023. In support of the Ukraine PHC’s letter, TB activists and civil society from Ukraine also wrote to J&J on 30 August 2023. In addition, similar letters to J&J making similar demands were sent by TB activists and civil society from Azerbaijan, Moldova, and around the world.

This letter was sent on 28 August 2023, before an announcement made by the Stop TB Partnership/Global Drug Facility (GDF) about a deal with J&J for access to generic bedaquiline to a limited number of countries. As of 21 September 2023, 11:30 AM CET, Ukraine’s PHC has not been included in the GDF/J&J deal.