WHO and Unitaid has released a statement on availability of tocilizumab. The organisations are concerned by Roche’s recent statement, warning of a global shortage of tocilizumab (brand name Actemra / RoActemra), an IL6 inhibitor recommended by WHO in June for use as a treatment for severe C-19 cases.
Tocilizumab can play a key role in decreasing mortality and reducing need for invasive mechanical ventilation among severely ill patients, when delivered alongside oxygen and corticosteroids.
The statement says, “While we welcome and acknowledge that Roche has announced measures to address the shortage, we call on the company to ensure equitable allocation of current stocks of this medicine for all countries, including low- and middle-income countries.
We also strongly encourage Roche to facilitate technology transfer and knowledge and data sharing to broaden access to this important treatment.”
The ACT-A partnership Access to C-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partners are working with Roche to set up channels for distribution of tocilizumab in places where it is not yet in use, as part of their effort to support roll-out of effective new therapeutic products for C-19.
In addition, WHO has issued a call for Expression of Interest to its Prequalification programme to expand the number of quality-assured manufacturers of the drug and thus to increase global supplies.
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