Update from the Global Drug Facility

Dr Joel Keravec has come on board as GDF’s manager ad interim. Dr Keravec has 22 years of experience as a public health consultant and project manager in Latin America, Africa and Europe, for UNDP, UNESCO, and Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PAHO and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. His technical areas of expertise include pharmaceutical management, product quality assurance and international quality standards for drugs, quality testing for laboratories, selection of essential medicines for standardized TB treatment, improved policy and regulatory environments for essential medicines and improved product management information systems.

Since 2004, Dr Keravec has been MSH’s Office Director in Brazil where he managed an 8-year technical assistance and capacity building program for strengthening DOTS implementation and MDR-TB control, for which the e-TB Manager system (www.etbmanager.org) was developed . He also previously served as deputy director of the National Institute for Health Quality and Control, Brazil, where he managed all aspects of a national reference laboratory for the Brazilian Food and Drug Administration/Anvisa.

A doctor of veterinary medicine, Dr Keravec is a graduate of the National Veterinary School of Nantes, France and also holds PhD in epidemiology from the Medical Faculty of Nantes and Pasteur Institute. Additionally he holds a Masters in business administration from the Institut Supérieur des Affaires, Groupe HEC, Paris.

He has served as a GDF Technical Review Committee member since 2010 and as a member of the global Green Light Committee (gGLC).

Through a recent effort, GDF obtained bids from an unprecedented number of manufacturers of second-line drugs - a total of 19. Following review of the bids, GDF will begin working with four suppliers that will, for the first time, begin supplying GDF with drugs for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively-resistant TB (XDR-TB). They are: Reig Jofre (who produce amoxicilin clavunate), Pharmatex/Fisiopharma (producers of amikacin), Dong-A (producers of cycloserine) and Labatec (producers of imipenem - cilastatin). GDF will also continue procuring second- line drugs from Macleods, Vianex, Olainfarm, Jacobus and other supply partners.

As a result of negotiations with bidders, GDF will now be able to provide cycloserine at an up to 37% lower price. This decrease represents important progress, because cycloserine is one of four medicines (along with capreomycin, kanamycin and PAS sodium and acid formulations known as PAS products) that together represent 80% of the products used in second-line regimens.

GDF’s product catalogue now includes an LED Microscope (binocular Microscope with LED fluorescence capability) for delivery to national TB programmes and other partners. Since 2011, WHO has recommended that conventional fluorescence microscopy be replaced by LED microscopy for TB diagnosis, and that LED microscopy be phased in as an alternative for conventional Ziehl-Neelsen light microscopy.

The microscope, a Zeiss Primo Star iLED- which conforms to WHO specifications - is delivered at an ex works price of US$ 1694.25. Zeiss’ lead time for delivery to GDF partners is two weeks. For further information, please contact GDF at gdfprs@who.int.