IFPMA welcomes the organization of the High-Level Meeting on ending Tuberculosis and WHO’s progress in developing a draft multisectoral accountability framework to accelerate countries’ engagement to reach the goals of the “End TB” strategy and the TB targets of the of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The pharmaceutical industry is committed to contribute to improve global public health. We have been at the forefront of a number of groundbreaking research, treatment and access programs to eradicate TB. The first new drugs to treat TB in 40 years were developed by the R&D pharmaceutical industry. Companies continue to invest in R&D for these products to inform appropriate use and develop pediatric formulations, and are collaborating with projects exploring how these can be integrated into shorter, optimized, all oral treatment regimens.
To be impactful, medicines cannot operate in a vacuum. Old and new treatments will not make a meaningful difference unless countries invest in strengthening their health care systems to detect, diagnose, and treat patients with TB.
The scale up of access to effective TB treatment remains poor even though most of the current drug regiments are based on low cost generics and governments benefit from donor funding and donation programs. Comprehensive access programs have also been put in place to promote broad and equitable access of new TB treatments. There is an urgent need for countries to strengthen their health care systems to be able to better leverage existing tools.
To end TB, global guidelines need to be rapidly translated at the local level. We need effective on-the-ground health systems strengthening policies which will support a holistic approach including the following pillars:
- Public awareness / education
- Prevention with interventions including latent TB
- Access and availability of diagnosis
- Appropriate prescription, dispensation and use of current treatments
- Adequate primary and hospital care and support
- Patient adherence
Working in a limitedly -resourced and under-incentivized area such as TB requires partnerships, from development all the way through launch and roll-out. The pharmaceutical industry is ready to work with countries and other partners to find sustainable solutions.