COX, Helen S. et al. The need to accelerate access to new drugs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Geneva, v. 93, n. 7, p. 491-497, July 2015. Disponível em: Scielo

Approximately half a million people are thought to develop multidrug-resistant tuberculosis annually. Barely 20% of these people currently receive recommended treatment and only about 10% are successfully treated. Poor access to treatment is probably driving the current epidemic, via ongoing transmission. Treatment scale-up is hampered by current treatment regimens, which are lengthy, expensive, poorly tolerated and difficult to administer in the settings where most patients reside. Although new drugs provide an opportunity to improve treatment regimens, current and planned clinical trials hold little promise for developing regimens that will facilitate prompt treatment scale-up. In this article we argue that clinical trials, while necessary, should be complemented by timely, large-scale, operational research that will provide programmatic data on the use of new drugs and regimens while simultaneously improving access to life-saving treatment. Perceived risks – such as the rapid development of resistance to new drugs – need to be balanced against the high levels of mortality and transmission that will otherwise persist. Doubling access to treatment and increasing treatment success could save approximately a million lives over the next decade.

LUNTE, Kaspars; CORDIER-LASSALLE, Thierry; KERAVEC, Joel. Reducing the price of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis through the Global Drug Facility. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Geneva, v. 93, n. 4, p. 279-282, Apr. 2015. Disponível em: Scielo

Problem: Many countries have limited experience of securing the best prices for drugs and have little negotiating power. This is particularly true for the complex, lengthy and expensive regimens used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Approach: The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility is dedicated to improving worldwide access to antituberculosis medicines and diagnostic techniques that meet international quality standards. Local setting: The Global Drug Facility is able to secure price reductions through competitive tendering among prequalified drug manufacturers and by consolidating orders to achieve large purchase volumes. Consolidating the market in this way increases the incentives for suppliers of quality-assured medicines. Relevant changes: In 2013 the Global Drug Facility reduced the price of the second-line drugs it supplies for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: the overall cost of the longest and most expensive treatment regimen for a patient decreased by 26% – from 7890 United States dollars (US$) in 2011 to US$ 5822 in 2013. Lessons learnt: The price of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis supplied by the Global Drug Facility was reduced by consolidating orders to achieve large purchase volumes, by international, competitive bidding and by the existence of donor-funded medicine stockpiles. The rise in the number of suppliers of internationally quality-assured drugs was also important. The savings achieved from lower drug costs could be used to increase the number of patients on high-quality treatment.