Brown Applauds FDA Approval Of Breakthrough Drug to Treat Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

Senator Has Fought for Federal Resources to Cure and Prevent Tuberculosis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is applauding news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug to help treat Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB). This new treatment, developed by a nonprofit organization, is a huge victory in the fight to cure drug-resistant TB, which Brown has long fought to secure federal resources to combat in Ohio and abroad.

“The approval of this new drug is groundbreaking news,” said Brown. “Tuberculosis kills more than 1.6 million people each year, and I’ve seen firsthand how challenging treatment can be, especially for those with drug-resistant forms of the disease. This is a critical step toward eradicating drug-resistant tuberculosis in the US and abroad entirely.”

Earlier this year, Brown reintroduced his Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act, which would help support the tools necessary for public health officials to eliminate tuberculosis in the United States. Brown’s bill would reauthorize the National Strategy for Combating and Eliminating TB, as well as authorize the use of grants to help state health departments focus on TB in high-risk populations and encourage interagency coordination in identifying novel tools and therapeutics for TB control. In March, Brown introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize and support World Tuberculosis Day, reaffirming the Senate’s commitment to strengthening U.S. leadership and effectiveness in ending the global TB epidemic. Brown has also led his colleagues in efforts to increase U.S. investment in the prevention and treatment of TB both globally and domestically, as part of the FY 2020 appropriations process.

In September, Brown joined Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) in leading a bipartisan group of Senators in urging President Trump to commit to meaningful U.S. engagement during the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on tuberculosis (TB). The Senators said committing to not only sustained but expanded investment in the fight against this infectious disease is what’s needed to defeat TB in the US and around the world. The UNGA High-Level Meeting resulted in a commitment to ending TB by 2030, with heads of state and government agreeing to mobilize billions of dollars to take action against drug-resistant forms of the disease and end the epidemic.

After a rise in Tuberculosis cases in Ohio in 2016, Brown joined public health officials in Columbus in calling for full funding of efforts to eliminate the deadly disease. Brown’s efforts led then President Obama to announce the Administration’s National Action Plan for combating MDR-TB.  The plan layed out a comprehensive strategy to both mobilize political will and seek additional financial and in-kind commitments from public health, private-sector partners, and governments of all affected countries. Brown led several of his Senate colleagues in urging the President to fully fund this plan, including funds for federal TB programs.

In 2010, Brown introduced the Creating Hope Act, which amended provisions of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Amendments Act, which was signed into law in 2007. These provisions established an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative therapeutics for neglected tropical diseases like TB. Under this law, companies that develop new drugs and biologics for neglected tropical diseases are eligible for a "priority review voucher" entitling them to expedited review of another drug produced by that manufacturer. As a result of Brown’s efforts in establishing the Priority Review Voucher program, the FDA awarded The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), the nonprofit responsible for developing the new drug, a Tropical Disease Priority Voucher. This voucher can be used by the TB Alliance to get an expedited review of another drug or sold to another company for millions of dollars.  

In 2008, Brown’s Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act was signed into law. Brown’s bill made key investments to combat the threat of domestic TB by establishing a grant program to help state and local governments and federal health centers fund prevention and treatment efforts.