[Ip-health] Two MSF TB statements: MSF AC response to USAID/Janssen announcement on BDQ donation programme; BRICS countries must boost investments in research to defeat deadly DRTB crisis

Michelle French Michelle.French at newyork.msf.org
Fri Dec 12 14:58:52 PST 2014

Dear all,

Please find below two recent MSF Access Campaign media statements relating 
to TB.


1) MSF response to Janssen’s bedaquiline donation announcement

Read the announcements here: 

Médecins Sans Frontières responds to the news of the donation announced by 
USAID and J&J/Janssen:

"Janssen’s new TB drug bedaquiline has been on the market for two years, 
yet to date around only 500 people have been treated with the drug.  
Bedaquiline has shown promise in successfully treating the deadliest forms 
of tuberculosis, and is recommended by WHO for this use, but the drug’s 
lack of registration in countries, high price and slow research efforts 
are hindering its wider use.

"Drug donations are not a long-term solution to meeting the needs of 
patients; donations are time-limited stopgap fixes that come with 
restrictions on where, how and who can access the medicine.  The best way 
to get as many people on treatment as possible is for Janssen to simply 
offer the drug at a more affordable price for everyone in low- and 
middle-income countries.

"It remains to be seen which countries will benefit from the donation 
programme, but we believe it should include all high-burden and TB-endemic 

"With the TB community waiting for new TB drugs for 50 years and more than 
200,000 patients dying from MDR-TB every year, the very slow uptake of 
bedaquiline is a scandal.  It is crucial to start closing the treatment 
gap, and we urge all treatment providers to move swiftly towards putting 
more people on available treatments, including regimens that include new 
TB drugs.  

"MSF also calls on all TB medicine manufacturers to offer their drugs at 
prices that ensure access for all people who need it, and this means 
considering the total cost of multiple drugs needed for TB regimens. Only 
by significantly scaling up the number of people diagnosed with 
drug-resistant tuberculosis, with all patients receiving treatment, will 
we see a drastic fall in the rate of new infections and deaths from this 

- Dr Jennifer Cohn, Medical Director, Médecins Sans Frontières Access 

2) Press release on the day of the IV MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF HEALTH 
OF THE BRICS in Brasilia on 5 Dec, 2014



BRICS countries must boost investments in research to defeat deadly 
drug-resistant tuberculosis crisis

Political will remains key barrier to deploying BRICS resources towards 
the development of a new generation of treatments for drug-resistant TB

Rio de Janeiro, 5 December 2014 – As government representatives from 
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – known as the BRICS 
countries – convene today in Brasilia for the fourth official BRICS 
Ministers of Health Meeting, where opportunities for cooperation on health 
projects, including on tuberculosis (TB), will be discussed, Doctors 
Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) expressed that while it 
welcomes the BRICS countries’ prioritization of efforts to address the 
deadly TB epidemic,  it is concerned by the lack of focus and resources 
being put towards developing new treatment regimens urgently needed to 
combat drug-resistant forms of the disease.

People living in BRICS countries are disproportionately affected by TB: 60 
% of all TB cases in high-burden countries and 60% of multi-drug-resistant 
TB (MDR-TB) cases globally are found in BRICS countries. Current treatment 
options for MDR-TB are expensive and woefully inadequate, with poor 
treatment success rates, many patients experiencing horrible side effects 
such as deafness, and limited treatment options for people with the 
deadliest form of the disease, extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). 
Current BRICS investments in national TB programmes will prove inadequate 
to turn back the growing MDR-TB crisis unless new, more effective and more 
tolerable treatment regimens are developed and put into routine use.

“BRICS countries have both the capacity and a responsibility to transform 
the failing approach to research and development for drug-resistant 
tuberculosis treatments,” said Felipe Carvalho of the MSF Access Campaign 
in Brazil. “Alarm bells should be going off around the world. Investment 
into TB research is declining, major drug companies are abandoning TB 
research entirely, and the first new TB drugs developed in half a century 
remain virtually useless to the vast majority of patients because they 
haven’t been tested in the drug combinations that are necessary to cure 
TB. Now is the time for BRICS countries to create incentives for new 
public and private sector research initiatives that focus on rapidly 
delivering effective treatment regimens to people with tuberculosis.”

At the second Health Ministers meeting in 2013, the BRICS countries 
recognized MDR-TB as a major public health problem, and a number of recent 
BRICS public statements have highlighted the countries’ desire to reduce 
the burden of TB through innovation in new drugs and vaccines.  Recently, 
at a meeting in Beijing, the BRICS countries decided to strengthen their 
collaboration in the field of pharmaceutical innovation, focusing on 
specific health challenges including tuberculosis. Despite the fact that 
the BRICS health cooperation framework and joint financing initiatives 
like the new BRICS Development Bank have been put in place, no initiative 
that would achieve this vision for TB treatment has so far been put forth.

“Now is the time for the BRICS countries to step forward and be a part of 
the solution.  Stronger leadership from BRICS countries could drive the 
development of a robust pipeline of anti-TB drugs, while promoting open 
and collaborative research focused on the development of new treatment 
regimens that patients desperately need,” said Julia Hill, Access Advocacy 
Officer for MSF’s Access Campaign in South Africa. “Using innovative 
research models, BRICS countries could lead the way in delivering new 
treatment regimens at affordable prices, for example by adequately 
rewarding promising research during the development process, instead of 
waiting to recoup research investments through sales of high-priced 

MSF provides TB treatment in 24 countries, including India, Russia and 
South Africa. In 2013, MSF treated almost 30,000 people with TB, and 1,950 
patients with drug-resistant TB. Our medical teams are reminded every day 
of the need for better treatment options when they witness the 
debilitating side effects and unacceptably low cure rates of existing 
drug-resistant TB treatments. Learn more about MSF’s proposal for a new 
approach to TB drug research and development: 

Michelle French
Communications Officer, MSF Access Campaign
Doctors Without Borders\Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Office: +1.212.763.5735 | Mobile: +1.646.552.4600
michelle.french at newyork.msf.org | Skype: michellejfrench
www.msfaccess.org | twitter.com/MSF_access | www.facebook.com/MSFaccess

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