WMA Statement on Drug Treatment of Tuberculosis

Adopted by the 49th WMA General Assembly Hamburg, Germany, November 1997
and rescinded at the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, 2006


Despite advances in therapeutics, tuberculosis (TB) is becoming an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide. Recent World Health Organisation estimates are that 30 million people could die from TB over the next ten years. While many patients with TB are not diagnosed many others are not treated effectively. There are many contributory reasons, including poor prescribing by doctors and poor patient compliance with treatment. TB is also a major threat to the health of HIV-positive persons and an increasingly common cause of death of persons with AIDS.

Furthermore, these factors also predispose to an increased likelihood of the development of drug resistant strains of M. Tuberculosis. In some closed communities, such as prisons, and amongst groups such as Hospitalised HIV-positive persons, the majority of new patients present with infection with multi-drug resistant strains.


Therefore, and in accord with its Statement on Resistance to Antimicrobial Drugs (Doc. 10.120),

The World Medical Association calls on its national member associations to support the World Health Organisation in its "Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course" and "Strictly Supervised Treatment" projects, and in other work to promote the more effective management of tuberculosis.