Given the urgent need to address the MDR-TB epidemic in the Philippines, advocates urge for rapid delivery of the new treatment options to people with MDR-TB.
On September 24, 2015 the the Global TB Community Advisory Board (TB CAB), SWIFT and Treatment Action Group (TAG) sent an open letter to the Philippine health authorities congratulating the country for moving forward with introducing new treatment options for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), and urging the health authorities to ensure their rapid delivery to people with MDR-TB.
Two new drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, have been approved for the treatment of MDR-TB and are now recommended by the World Health Organization when an effective regimen cannot otherwise be constructed due to issues such as resistance and tolerability. The Philippines has one of the highest burdens in the world of MDR-TB – an estimated 8,500 cases in 2013. Given the epidemiological situation, the need to scale up effective treatment options for people with MDR-TB is urgent.
Acknowledging the actions undertaken by the Philippines to date, the letter asks the health authorities to commit to the following:
- Ensuring that bedaquiline arrives in the country by November 1, 2015 and patients are started on it as soon as possible.
- Securing the availability of delamanid in the country by requesting the drug developer Otsuka to provide post-trial access to the drug.
- Ensuring that consenting patients are rapidly enrolled into the shortened nine-month MRD-TB treatment program started in the country in July 2015.
- Monitoring, documenting and sharing safety, and interim and final patient cohort outcomes on new drugs and nine-month regimen.
“Multiple stakeholders are enthusiastically available to support your program with any technical needs that would help facilitate the Philippines in these important efforts if needed.”
The TB advocates request a response to the letter by October 23, 2015.
To download the open letter, click here.