tb-meds-770x470The Romanian Health Observatory, supported by the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation (RAA) under the Global Fund programme, has published “TB Medicine Crisis in Romania”, a comprehensive and evidence-based report and long-term sustainable solutions for the TB drugs situation in our country. The report is endorsed by the Romanian Stop TB Partnership.

The Report states that “Out of the 28 investigated TB medicines mentioned as essential or necessary for the treatment of Tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis by the World Health Organization or by the Methodological Guidelines for Implementing the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in Romania, 15 essential drugs are reported to be unavailable or have disruptions in supply caused by existing legislative barriers in Romania. Other 3 drugs recommended in international guidelines, but considered to have alternatives, are missing from Romania.”

The Romanian Government needs to take immediate action in order to be able to procure the full regimens for both TB and MDR/XDR-TB patients, from domestic funds. Therefore, 42 organizations, from Romania or international, have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health urging them to change the legislation which currently prevents the Romanian authorities from procuring appropriate treatment of MDR/XDR TB cases according to WHO and NTP guidelines.

Member of the EU since 2007, Romania is the main TB exporter across the Union, with the highest number of TB cases registered the EU. In 2015, 60,195 cases of TB were reported in 30 EU/EEA countries, with Romania alone accounting for 25.2% of all cases (14.215 new cases and relapses reported in 2015). In 2016, the number was slightly lower, with 12.790 new cases and relapses registered in the national TB database but some doctors fear that this is due to underdiagnosis, migration, lack of information which leads to late diagnosis etc. Romania is also one of the high-priority countries in the WHO European Region; currently ranking 5th in the WHO European Region considering the absolute number of incident TB cases registered every year.

Since 2007, full-course drug regiments for the treatment of MDR/XDR-TB have been procured by RAA through GDF mechanism, with funding from the Global Fund and Norway Grants. These drugs supported the NTP to provide adequate non-interrupted treatment to over 2,000 MDR/XDR TB patients. In addition, with the support of the Global Fund, a WHO Technical Assistance Mission was organized by RAA in 2016 to assess the situation and formulate recommendations for resolving the crisis. Until now, the Romanian State has made no significant progress in this regard.

Romania is not recognized by WHO as a high-burden country and is listed as upper-middle-income by World Bank criteria. This means that the international support for programs covering prevention, diagnosis, treatment and social support will decrease gradually and the Romanian Government will become fully responsible with funding these programs in the following years.

The Open Letter can be accessed here.


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