Chicago Tribune (01.17.13)
More than 80 percent of US health departments that treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) have difficulty obtaining treatment drugs. Based on the results of the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association’s 2010 survey, the difficulty is blamed on shortages, shipping delays, and a complicated new drug acquisition process.
Of the 33 health departments that responded to the survey, 26 had patients with MDR TB in the five years the survey covered and 21 of them had difficulty finding the second-line drugs needed. More than half of the 26 health departments that treated a drug-resistant strain of TB (81 percent) complained of difficulty finding drugs for the disease, and more than half said problems finding the proper drugs for MDR TB delayed patient treatment.
According to CDC statistics, the United States reported 10,258 TB cases in 2011,and 529 deaths from TB in 2009.
CDC noted that because only 54 percent of 61 health jurisdictions approached responded to the survey, the results might not accurately represent the national drug shortage problem.