TB drug remains too expensive, despite new price: MSF

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Ms Shailly Gupta

 DTMT Network
Hyderabad: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling on the TB Alliance (TBA), a non-profit TB drug development organisation, and its commercial partner pharmaceutical corporation Mylan, to further lower the price of the drug Pretomanid, as it is just one part of a regimen of multiple drugs that people need.

Shailly Gupta, Communications Advisor, MSF Access Campaign, has said that the price of a complete DR-TB treatment course should be no higher than $500 per person. However, the global drug facility has announced a price of US$364 for a six-month treatment course.

Pretomanid is the first TB drug to be developed and approved as part of a ready-to-use treatment regimen for people with extensively drug resistant (XDR)-TB, treatment-intolerant, or nonresponsive multidrug-resistant pulmonary TB.

This new regimen has the potential to dramatically shorten treatment length to six months, greatly reduce the number of pills required, and helps increase XDR-TB cure rates from the abysmal 39%.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have estimated that generic versions of pretomanid could be produced and sold at a profit for less than $1.35 a day, or less than $35 a month.

The high price of one of the other newer TB drugs, bedaquiline, at $400 for a six-month treatment course will also impede the uptake of the BPaL regimen in high TB burden countries. MSF has launched a global campaign calling on pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson to lower the price of  bedaquiline to no more than US$1 per day, which is $200 for six months, or half of what J&J currently charges.


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