Governments still not doing enough to scale up access to newer TB drugs

“Five years ago, we saw a ray of hope with two new drugs to treat tuberculosis: bedaquiline and delamanid. These medicines promised a more effective treatment regimen for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), offering shorter, all-oral treatment with fewer side effects and better clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, uptake of these newer drugs has been abysmally slow. The majority of people treated for MDR-TB continue to receive older medicines that can cause severe side effects – such as deafness and psychosis – and cure only 50% of people who receive them. As a treatment provider, MSF is disheartened to see governments still not doing enough to scale up access to newer drugs that provide a real chance of survival for people who continue to die from the world’s leading infectious disease killer. It’s way past time to step up and treat TB.”

- Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB Advisor, MSF Access Campaign

Of the estimated 600,000 people who were newly infected with MDR-TB in 2016, only 130,000 began treatment. An estimated 240,000 people died from the disease the same year. Although two promising newer drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, have been on the market for more than four years, patients’ access to them remains unacceptably limited. As of February 2018, only 16,069 people worldwide had received bedaquiline and only 1,247 people had received delamanid. In addition to scale-up, reporting of treatment outcomes is needed to inform future World Health Organization’s treatment guidelines.

Reading Materials

Four Years and Counting:

Out of Step: TB Policies in 29 Countries, 3rd Ed. (2017):

MSF has been involved in TB care for 30 years, often working alongside national health authorities to treat patients in a wide variety of settings, including chronic conflict zones, urban slums, prisons, refugee camps and rural areas. In 2016, MSF supported more than 20,000 TB patients on treatment, including 2,700 patients with drug-resistant forms of TB.


Shailly Gupta
Press & Communications Officer
MSF Access Campaign
Médecins Sans Frontières
Ph: +41 22 849 9334
M: +41 79 203 13 02
Skype: Shailly.17 |Twitter: @shaillytweeting


About Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign

In 1999, in the wake of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, MSF launched the Access Campaign. Its purpose has been to push for access to, and the development of life-saving and life prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for patients in MSF programmes and beyond.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign
Rue de Lausanne 78
P.O Box 1016
CH-1211 Geneva 1