Authorities in Romania are unable to provide the full range of essential medicines needed for the treatment of TB, the Romanian Health Observatory said in its latest report, TB medicine crisis in Romania. While the contagious disease is designated a public health priority in the country, the root cause is “the existence of absurd and self-contradictory legislation and widespread government red tape” that blocks Romanian tuberculosis patients’ access to treatment, it said.
Missing meds: From 28 drugs considered necessary for treatment by the World Health Organization or Romania’s national prevention program, 15 are unavailable or have supply disruptions. One medicine not reimbursed for tuberculosis is reimbursed for HIV. “Practically, patients diagnosed with HIV and TB are more fortunate than patients who have only a diagnosis of tuberculosis,” the report observed. Meanwhile, the fact that only some drugs are available could increase prevalence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis if patients end up taking an incomplete treatment. With more than 500 new cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis detected annually, Romania has the highest number of cases in the EU but one of the lowest rates of successful management.
At this point, international organizations are providing and co-financing the procurement of essential medicines needed for Romanian TB patients. The international funding will end in the first quarter of 2018. The patients will be left without access to the full course of treatment if the Romanian authorities will not be able to take over the procurement. Currently, the Government of Romania – an European Union member state – is not fulfilling its legal obligations towards TB patients.
A summary of the report in English can be downloaded here.