E-DRUG: World TB day 24 March and drugs
Tomorrow is Global TB day. A good reason to review the drug related aspects.
Number of People who develop TB each day: 25,000
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of infectious death worldwide.
Despite a cure being available for over fifty years, TB kills more than 2
million people every year. Each day, nearly 25, 000 people develop active TB
and 5 000 die from their disease.
Number of people who will develop TB in 2005: 8,964,000
Without treatment, between 50% and 70% of people with infectious TB will
die. And the situation is getting worse: the number of cases is increasing
by 3% every year, largely because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is estimated
that there will be 9 million new cases of TB in 2005.
Prices of TB drugs have fallen dramatically over the last years: it now only
costs USD 10 (drugs only) to cure a TB patient. Countries and projects
approved by GDF can even get them free! See the website of the Global Drug
The drugs available are at:
The GDF procedure seems active and operational: some basic facts about GDF
For MDR-TB, the situation is still grim. MDR-TB is still difficult to treat
(up to 2 years of treatment, cure rate max 60%), and costs remain relatively
However, projects or countries can buy MDR-TB drugs at reduced prices
through the Green Light Committee (USD 500 - 1500 per treatment, depending
on the resistance pattern; compare this to USD 10-18,000 per treatment in
the rich countries private sector!). The strategy is called DOTS-PLUS:
See a good review article on GLC at:
For a database on MDR-TB research, see http://www.who.int/tb_search/en/
A procurement manual how to get MDR-TB drugs at lowest cost, see
There is, however, not so much information as to how efficient the GLC
procedure is. How many patients are being treated with MDR-TB drugs through
E-drug welcomes more debate around TB drug issues!
Wilbert Bannenberg, E-drug moderator
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