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World Needs Better Way To Develop, Test TB Drugs, Diagnostics

The Guardian: We had to run our own trial for TB drugs — nobody else was doing it
Bern-Thomas Nyang’wa, TB specialist at Médecins Sans Frontières

“…Despite the fact that the number of new people being diagnosed with TB every year is decreasing, the overall number of people living with TB is at an all-time high as we fail to cure people already living with the disease. … The inadequate diagnostics and medicines mean that the complexity and severity of the disease is getting worse. … One key reason for the lack of investment in TB is that most people with the disease live in low- and middle-income countries, so there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop or research new drugs. It is also because drug companies make financial gains by patenting drugs. … As a result, the only two new drugs developed in the past 50 years remain out of reach of most patients. … [We] need better diagnostic tools that are also accessible to those who need them most. We need improved ways of developing individual drugs and quicker ways of combining them into regimens. We need combinations that are suitable for children, and all treatment needs to be affordable. With thousands of people dying from TB each day, there needs to be a global response to this global crisis” (6/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.