Urgent action necessary for equitable access to bedaquiline in all countries with high burdens of TB, MDR-TB, and TB/HIV

Advocates demand that Johnson & Johnson commit to non-enforcement of secondary patent on bedaquiline so that access to generic, quality-assured bedaquiline is guaranteed after the primary patent expires on 18 July 2023.

On 11 July 2023, TB advocates sent an open letter to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) demanding that the company publicly announce its commitment to not enforce secondary patent on the fumarate salt formulation and any other versions of bedaquiline (Sirturo) and to withdraw any pending applications for the secondary patent so that all countries with high burdens of TB, multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), and TB/HIV can access generic, quality-assured bedaquiline after the primary patent expires on 18 July 2023. The letter is signed by 83 organizations and 106 individuals representing TB-affected communities and civil society.

“We call on J&J to formally make this announcement at or before the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB this September 22, 2023. Failure to do so will show the world that J&J cares more about extending its monopoly over bedaquiline than it does about the lives of people with RR/MDR-TB [rifampicin-resistant/multidrug-resistant TB] who need access to this drug at affordable prices… J&J’s commitment to non-enforcement of the secondary patent on bedaquiline is an urgent humanitarian and human rights concern…”

To read the full letter, click here.

Also, check out a video from the journalist John Green calling out J&J for prioritizing profit over people with drug-resistant TB who need access to lifesaving bedaquiline.


As Johnson & Johnson’s 20-year primary patent on the critical, lifesaving drug-resistant TB drug bedaquiline expired in majority of countries including India on 18 July 2023, Médecins Sans Frontières reiterated its call for the US pharmaceutical corporation to publicly announce it will not enforce any ‘secondary’ patents for the drug in any country with a high burden of TB, and withdraw and abandon all pending secondary patent applications for this critical drug everywhere. Recent deal offering controlled generics access in limited countries does not go far enough.

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By TB advocates

Published: July 11, 2023, 8:11 p.m.

Last updated: July 20, 2023, 8:28 p.m.

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