Via MSF.org: Tuberculosis: Fewer than five per cent of people in need are treated with new drugs. Excerpt:
Only 4,800 people with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in 2016 were treated with two newer and much more effective medicines, even though these have now been on the market for up to four years, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) deplored today. Outside of a small number of clinical trials and compassionate use programmes, only 469 people received delamanid in 2016, while just over 4,300 received bedaquiline.
This means that fewer than five per cent of people who need these drugs have received them. All other people receiving DR-TB treatment continue instead to be treated with older, more toxic regimens that cure only 50 per cent of people treated, and cause severe side-effects, ranging from deafness to psychosis.
Access to bedaquiline and delamanid must be urgently increased by the pharmaceutical corporations that produce them, and by governments, in order to save the lives of people with DR-TB.
In 2015, the World Health Organization estimated that more than half a million people were infected with DR-TB, with just one quarter of those being diagnosed and receiving treatment.
“It’s downright disheartening that with hundreds of thousands of people living with deadly drug-resistant tuberculosis, only 4,800 people last year received the two new drugs that could dramatically increase the number of lives saved,” said Dr Isaac Chikwanha, TB Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign.