The Global TB Drug Facility (GDF) is a new initiative to increase access to high quality tuberculosis drugs. The GDF, a project of the Global Partnership to Stop TB, is managed by its secretariat, in the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva. It aims to provide tuberculosis drugs to treat up to 11.6 million patients over the next 5 years and to assist countries to reach the WHO global TB control targets by 2005. The GDF was launched on 24 March 2001. Six rounds of applications have been completed, with 46 countries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) approved for support. The GDF is not a traditional procurement mechanism. It has adopted an innovative approach to the supply of drugs, by linking demand for drugs to supply and monitoring, using partners to provide services, using product packaging to simplify drug management and linking grants to TB programme performance. This paper describes the GDF operational procedures and experience gained so far. Key achievements to date are also outlined, including the creation of a flexible supply system to meet differing programme needs, rapid establishment of procedures, reduction in TB drug prices—a catalyst for DOTS expansion in countries, standardisation of products, and collaboration with partners. The GDF is flexible enough to meet the needs of countries with a TB burden. The GDF experience could be used as an example for global procurement of drugs and commodities for other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. In the future it is likely that the GDF will expand to include second-line drugs and diagnostic materials for TB and could assist other partnerships to develop similar mechanisms and facilities to meet country needs.
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tuberculosis, drug therapy
Document Type: Invited Paper
Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
January 1, 2004
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