A new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that Nigeria incurred 0.26 billion dollars losses of Future GDP (at Purchasing Power Parity – PPP) due to early mortality from DR-TB in 2017.
The report “A Call to Action: It’s Time to End Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis’’, published on Tuesday (May 7) by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), was made possible with support from Johnson and Johnson.
The EIU is the thought leadership, research and analysis division of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence for executives.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s deadliest infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis; annually 10 million people are estimated to develop active TB and approximately 1.6 million people die from it.
DR-TB is an airborne infectious disease that does not respond to the most commonly used TB medicines, the Johnson and Johnson said in a follow up statement on Thursday.
“DR-TB is a particularly complicated form of the bacterial infection and is characterised by resistance to at least one of the most powerful drugs in the first-line treatment regimen.
“The reports said that based on current incidence and prevalence rates, DR-TB deaths in a single year are estimated to cost the global economy at least 17.8 billion dollars.
“This represents a loss of Future Gross Domestic Product in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), due to deaths from DR-TB globally (230,000 in 2017).
“In addition, in a single year, DR-TB causes a loss of at least 3 billion dollars in PPP terms due to work absences in the approximately 100 countries for which data were available,’’ the report said.
The statement said the EIU report noted that in 2017 alone, DR-TB infected over 550,000 people, with cases in nearly every country globally and claimed 230,000 lives.
This is in comparison to the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which attracted significant international attention and investment, had a similar mortality rate and took the lives of approximately 11,000 people over a three-year period (2014–2016).
The statement observed that the global response, resources and preparedness are not keeping pace with the increasing spread of DR-TB.
“According to the Stop TB Partnership, there is currently an estimated funding gap of 3.5 billion dollars in 2018-2020 for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs – a gap that is expected to increase considerably by 2022.
“An additional nine billion dollars are needed for research and development (R&D) by 2020 to develop new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines,’’ it said.
To address DR-TB, proper diagnosis and linkage to care are essential.
“This can be a particular challenge in low-resource settings where the majority of cases occur. Though effective treatment options now exist, three out of every four people with DR-TB go undiagnosed and untreated, and as a result, can each infect up to 15 additional people over the course of a year.
“Addressing TB provides good value for money. The benefit-to-cost ratio for investing in diagnosis and treatment of DR-TB specifically has been estimated at up to 23 dollars for every dollar invested.
“Additionally, if TB RD is fully funded, the world could see an estimated 8.4 million fewer TB cases and 181 billion dollars in productivity gains by 2030,’’ the J&J statement quoted the EIU report as recommending.
Jaak Peeters, Global Head, Johnson and Johnson Global Public Health, Janssen-Cilag GmbH, said: “The EIU report sounds the alarm on DR-TB; if the disease continues to be left unchecked the damage to people’s lives and entire economies could be devastating.
“Turning the tide on this disease requires that we act immediately,’’ Peeters said.
Also, Peter Sands, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, says innovation, collaboration, better execution, money and better use of data would be need to achieve the SDG ambition of ending TB by 2030.
Johnson and Johnson has long been committed to the fight against DR-TB, including by developing Janssen’s SIRTURO® (bedaquiline), the first novel TB medicine in more than 40 years and one of the last lines of defence against DR-TB.
Since its approval, the company has delivered more than 90,000 courses of bedaquiline to 118 countries, including the 30 highest-burden countries.
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