15 October 2001
FIRST SHIPMENT OF VITAL TUBERCULOSIS DRUGS ARRIVESIN MOLDOVA
CHISINAU, Republic of Moldova—World Health Organization (WHO) officials today confirmed the first shipment of life-saving tuberculosis (TB) drugs to the Republic of Moldova for the treatment of nearly 4,000 TB sufferers.
The vital drugs are being made available through a global TB partnership initiative, the Global TB Drug Facility, which was started earlier this year thanks to seed capital provided by the Canadian Government. The arrival of the high-quality TB drugs in Moldova represents the first delivery through the Facility.
Severe socio-economic difficulties in Moldova since 1991 have contributed to a shortage of quality TB drugs. At a cabinet meeting in late June, Moldova’s Premier Vasile Tarlev formally adopted DOTS, the internationally recommended strategy for controlling and treating TB, to fight the epidemic.
Moldova is a country with a population of about 4.29 million inhabitants. Since the early 90s the number of new TB cases per year have increased dramatically. WHO estimates that about 5800 people develop TB in Moldova every year. Drugs supplied through the Global TB Drug Facility will help secure an uninterrupted supply of high-quality drugs for DOTS expansion.
The Global TB Drug Facility, which supports DOTS expansion, has been established with the aim of increasing access to high-quality TB drugs worldwide. Through standardization of drug products, a bulk buying procurement system, and a competitive bidding process, the Facility has slashed TB drug prices for a six-month course of treatment to just US $10, which represents a 30% savings on international drug prices.
"TB drug contributions from the Global Drug Facility provide the type of interventions which we know will have an impact", stated Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO’s Director-General. "The Facility demonstrates that new forms of collaboration and partnership are possible and productive, providing cost-effective and necessary treatment to the poor and marginalized."
In addition to Moldova, 11 other countries have qualified for support under the Global TB Drug Facility. Through the comparative advantages gained by the GDF, the total cost of treating the 11.6 million additional cases worldwide needed to reach the global TB control targets by 2005 amounts to US$ 133 million. This results in potential savings of US$ 147 million over the next five years.
"The achievements of the Global TB Drug Facility demonstrate the strength of the partnership. We have the experience, the skills and the know-how to rapidly deliver and maintain an uninterrupted supply of high-quality TB products to those countries that need them," said Dr J.W. Lee, Director of Stop TB. "The Facility also ensures a consistent supply of drugs and an end to empty warehouses".
Every year, TB claims nearly 1.7 million lives. However, TB can be cured and lives can be saved. The Global TB Drug Facility provides the mechanism for effective delivery of quality TB drugs.
For more information please contact Jeannette Sanchez, Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, Geneva. Telephone (+41 22) 791 1278. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In Moldova, contact Irina Zatusevschi or Andre Mochniaga, WHO Liaison Office of the Republic of Moldova. Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: (+373 2) 728 818, Fax: (+373 2) 729 281. All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO home page http://www.who.int/