What we’re reading: Before the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, we’re reading how fair pricing and policies can end TB

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With the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health about to open in the Hague Wednesday, with a theme of “Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions,” befitting the city of justice, we’re reading how fair pricing and responsive policies can speed progress against an ancient disease. And stay tuned — Science Speaks will be providing live, on the spot coverage of conference presentations . . .

MSF: DR-TB Drugs Under The Microscope – After nearly a half century of stalled progress against tuberculosis, the last decade saw the development of new medicines to treat drug-resistant TB and new treatment regimens to lessen the time and toll of curing the disease. But, the  5th edition of Médecins Sans Frontières’ “DR-TB Drugs Under the Microscope” notes, obstacles to accessing those treatments that include exorbitant pricing, continue to keep improved care, and global advances against TB out of reach. Along with recommendations, the briefing paper also comes with an Online Supplement with more information on drug prices and quality, registration status, and formulations available to treat children with DR-TB.

Reality Check — The Price of Bedaquiline – The Treatment Action Group, in turn recently released a paper providing a brief history of the development, public investments, pricing and access to bedaquiline, the drug that offered widespread hope when approved in 2012, but remains expensive, hard to get and under-used. Calling on the Janssen, the company that with support from government incentives developed the drug to price the drug within widespread reach, this fact sheet also explores how pricing, in spite of a much-publicized donation program, continues to affect access to the drug.

National TB Checklist – Also from TAG, a checklist of tests, treatments and preventive interventions that countries need to ensure are free and accessible if they plan to end TB.

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