The spread of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis poses a grave threat to the global public health. A key barrier to global control of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) is the high cost of treatment. There is precedent for strategies to correct market failures for a number of infectious diseases prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, but the application of these strategies to other disease contexts has not yet been defined. In this article, we assess changes in MDR-TB drug prices since 2001 and identify limitations in the current system. We then examine successful alternative approaches to reducing cost barriers to treatment for infectious diseases, using pneumococcal vaccine as a case study to inform the fight against the global TB pandemic. We argue that donor resources should be pooled to link market-oriented solutions to MDR-TB drug prices with targeted investments in health systems strengthening and innovative care delivery models.
(cite: Hwang TJ, Keshavjee S. Global financing and long-term technical assistance for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: Scaling up access to treatment. PLOS Med 2014; 11(9): e1001738.)