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Stock Outs

TAG’s TB/HIV project works to advance research and ensure access for new or optimized drugs and treatment regimens for tuberculosis (TB). While most cases of TB have been preventable and curable for decades, existing drugs are inadequate, and access is problematic.

For latent TB infection, drug-sensitive active TB and the growing problem of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), treatment lasts months or even years. Even with lengthy and expensive treatment, many patients with DR-TB are not cured and suffer horrible side effects. The TB treatment chapter of TAG’s annual Pipeline Report documents current research for new treatment options and what gaps remain. More research is needed to shorten and improve therapy, yet investment lags at a third of what is needed. In 2011 alone, there was a half-billion-dollar funding shortfall for TB research (see our 2012 Report on Tuberculosis Research Funding Trends, 2005–2011 for more information).

Access is a problem for both new and old drugs. Frequent and widespread stock-outs of approved drugs threaten patient care. High prices for existing second-line and new drugs burden TB programs. Limited access to compassionate use or other pre-approval mechanisms leave behind patients with no other viable treatment options.

Better treatment options and corresponding access are urgently needed to get to zero deaths, zero new infections, and zero stigma and suffering from TB.