Lancet Global Health Pieces Discuss Upcoming U.N. High-Level Meeting On TB

The Lancet Global Health: A new era for tuberculosis?
Editorial Board

“…Earlier drafts of the political declaration — the key outcome document of the [first-ever U.N. High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Tuberculosis] — contained reference to the full use of flexibilities in intellectual property rules geared towards maximizing access. Yet, under pressure from the USA and others, the final draft saw these provisions weakened. … There are many priorities in the complex and centuries-long fight against this cruel disease. But to suggest, as did a U.S. representative at the recent civil society hearing ahead of the HLM, that global efforts should focus on improving health systems and new tools, rather than being ‘distracted, as we so often are, into a discussion of access to medicines, intellectual property flexibilities, or compulsory licensing’ is plainly absurd. New tools include new (expensive) medicines and health systems cannot improve if WHO-recommended regimens cannot be afforded. Will the HLM make a difference? Not as long as commercial protectionism trumps social justice” (October 2018).

The Lancet Global Health: Message to world leaders: we cannot end tuberculosis without addressing the social and economic burden of the disease
Priya B. Shete, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); Michael Reid, assistant professor at the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UCSF; and Eric Goosby, professor at the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UCSF and U.N. Special Envoy for TB

“…[P]urely biomedical or public health solutions are not enough to end the tuberculosis epidemic; countries must implement social policy strategies that can protect tuberculosis sufferers from the financial shocks of this deadly disease. … [The U.N. High-Level Meeting on TB] provides a unique opportunity to underscore the importance of social protection interventions in ending tuberculosis. … [T]o capitalize on the political opportunity that the HLM presents, the tuberculosis community must emphasize to Heads of States and Governments how a successful response to the epidemic needs to extend beyond biomedical solutions, and address all patient barriers to tuberculosis prevention and care. Further, by integrating social protection with tuberculosis care, we can model multisectoral approaches in policy, program, and research that can be used to achieve disease elimination and simultaneously improve economic and development outcomes for the world’s most vulnerable populations” (9/14).