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Ending Global TB Requires Improved Access To Medicine, Lower Drug Prices, Innovation

STAT: Ending tuberculosis will take lower drug prices and a new, improved innovation ecosystem
John Stephens, lawyer and associate at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center; Prabha Mahesh, tuberculosis survivor and member of Touched by TB; and Brian Citro, clinical professor of law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and architect of the Nairobi Strategy of Tuberculosis and Human Rights

“…There is a very real risk that the [political declaration that emerges from the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB)] could undermine, rather than improve, access to medicines for the more than 10 million people who fall ill with tuberculosis every year. … Here’s why: The United States government and pharmaceutical companies are driving efforts to strip language from the declaration that reminds countries they can use international legal mechanisms to lower the prices of tuberculosis drugs to make them accessible to all people who need them. But countries from the global South with high burdens of tuberculosis, civil society, and people affected by tuberculosis are fighting back. … [P]eople with tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis do not need more patents for drugs they can’t afford. Instead, they need a better system with new incentives. They need real innovation. And right now they need a political declaration … that reaffirms countries’ legal right to use [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)] flexibilities when they cannot otherwise afford the lifesaving treatments [they] desperately need” (9/13).

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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.