Photo: A young patient in Tajikistan. Tajikistan 2012 © Natasha Sergeeva/MSF
First New TB Drug In 50 Years Approved Must Be Made Widely Available
The approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of an important new tuberculosis treatment must lead to its availability in countries with high levels of the drug-resistant form of the deadly disease, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.
The new drug, bedaquiline, is the first active agent against tuberculosis to be registered since 1963, and its approval was welcomed by MSF as it marks a major improvement in combating the most challenging forms of TB, which require complex regimes often accompanied by pronounced side effects.
“The first new drug to treat TB in 50 years is an immense milestone,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the MSF Access Campaign. “The fact that the drug is active against drug-resistant forms of the disease makes it a potential game changer.”