The COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving, and Doctors Without Borders is tracking developments and working to respond to humanitarian needs for the world's most vulnerable in the places we work . This includes refugees and treating people living with drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), whose compromised immune systems leaves them especially vulnerable during this global outbreak.
We continue to lead global efforts to make newer, more effective medicines affordable and available to those who need them because what good is a breakthrough medicine if the people who need it can't afford it?
TB is a leading cause of deaths due to infectious disease worldwide, accounting for 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2018. Vulnerable populations at highest risk for contracting TB include children, the elderly, people from regions with high TB rates, and those living in close quarters like prisons, refugee camps, and crowded slums–some of the same populations currently vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson owns the patent for bedaquiline—a groundbreaking treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) that replaces older, toxic drugs with devastating side effects. It was developed using taxpayer funds and non-profit and philanthropic support, including from Doctors Without Borders. But now Johnson & Johnson is charging prices so high that fewer than one in five people who need the drug can afford it.
We refuse to let Johnson & Johnson put profit over people's lives.
According to the World Health Organization's recommendations, an estimated 80% of the 484,000 people who develop DR-TB annually should be treated with bedaquiline. But since it was approved for use in 2012, just over 37,000 people have received it. Rapid rollout of the better-tolerated treatment will only happen if J&J makes it widely available in an affordable way, including allowing other drug manufacturers to make generic versions.
That's why we've launched a global campaign demanding that Johnson & Johnson lower the price of bedaquiline to $1 per day.
Join Doctors Without Borders USA and other members of the global MSF movement: Sign the petition and demand that Johnson & Johnson lower the price of this lifesaving tuberculosis drug!