[Ip-health] MSF gains access to generic linezolid for DR-TB in South Africa; report from South Africa TB conference

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 04:01:48 PDT 2014

*Victory! Access to more affordable generic linezolid for MSF’s DR-TB
patients in South Africa*

After an epic three-year battle, MSF last week received approval from the
South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) to import a dramatically
cheaper generic version of a high-strength antibiotic called linezolid, to
expand access for patients  with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB)
enrolled in MSF’s programmes in Khayelitsha, Western Cape.

Prior to receiving permission to use the generic, MSF was forced to pay the
private sector price for linezolid— over R700 (~US$65) per 600mg tablet,
which a DR-TB patient would require daily for up to two years. The cost of
the brand name product was eating up 10% of MSF’s Khayelitsha HIV & TB
project’s overall annual budget. MSF purchases the generic for 88% less
(US$8 per tablet).

MSF believes this decision will set a precedent for other healthcare actors
in South Africa to request similar permission to use more affordable
linezolid, or catalyse full registration of generic linezolid by the
MCC—either move has the potential to expand access to the drug to hundreds
more DR-TB patients in need across South Africa. MSF’s long struggle to
overcome exorbitant monopoly pricing of brand name linezolid also
highlights how urgent it is for national patent law reforms to take place
in South Africa, so the story of linezolid doesn’t need to repeat with
other lifesaving drugs.

Read the MSF press statement here:

Read an MSF fact sheet on linezolid here:

*4th South African TB Conference*

1200 delegates attended the 4th South African TB Conference in Durban from
June 10-13, 2014. Activists’ voices took centre stage at the conference, as
civil society organisations the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27,
and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) issued a memorandum
highlighting the country’s inadequate response to the growing TB crisis in
South Africa, and called upon delegates to vote for the government to
declare TB a public health emergency.

For more on the conference:

MSF South Africa press release :

Memorandum issued by MSF, TAC, SECTION27:

Some of the presentations given at the conference with MSF contributions:



Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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