Bedaquiline is one of the new oral drugs used to treat TB. New dugs are essential for patients who have developed resistance to, or have adverse reactions, most of the older ones. In 2018, MSF started providing treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) to patients in Zhytomyr Oblast, in partnership with the Zhytomyr Regional TB Dispensary. Zhytomyr region has one of the highest rates of TB in Ukraine. Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk
Letter |

Ukraine: Open Letter: CSOs request urgent action by Johnson & Johnson to improve equitable access to bedaquiline-based regimens in all countries with a high burden of tuberculosis

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Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk

Civil society organisations, communities affected by tuberculosis (TB), and partner institutions in Ukraine sent this open letter to the US pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requesting urgent action to improve equitable access to the lifesaving TB drug bedaquiline in Ukraine, and all other countries with a high burden of TB.

This letter supports a similar call from Ukraine’s national TB programme from 28 August, which took a firm stance and demanded J&J grant freedom of access to more affordable generic versions of bedaquiline. In addition to the letters from Ukraine, Belarus’ national TB programme made a similar call to J&J on 11 July 2023, as have TB activists and civil society from Azerbaijan, Moldova, and around the world.

This letter was sent on 30 August 2023, after an announcement made by the Stop TB Partnership/Global Drug Facility (GDF) about a deal with J&J for access to generic bedaquiline to a limited number of countries. As of 21 September 2023, 11:30 AM CET, Ukraine’s PHC has not been included in the GDF/J&J deal.