[Ip-health] [SIGN-ON LETTER] Hain¹s price-doubling of MDR-TB diagnostic tool puts fragile gains at risk

Sharonann Lynch sharonann.lynch at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 06:23:52 PDT 2013

[please circulate widely]

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to ask you to sign an open letter asking Hain Lifescience to
reconsider its decision to more than double the price of its GenoType
MTBDRplus product, an important rapid diagnostic tool that can detect
multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

This massive price hike comes just as efforts to implement new rapid
diagnostic tools are beginning to have real effects in improving diagnosis
and shortening time to treatment for drug-sensitive TB, drug-resistant TB,
and TB/HIV co-infection.  For example, MSF¹s implementation of new
molecular-based rapid diagnostics has shown an overall 50% increase in
laboratory-based diagnosis of TB when compared to the most commonly used TB
test, sputum smear microscopy.

Hain¹s GenoType MTBDRplus is a Line Probe Assay used by MSF and other
treatment providers to confirm resistance to first-line TB drugs rifampicin
and isoniazid, in accordance with WHO guidelines.  Hain¹s product is
endorsed by the WHO and is being rolled-out in the Expand TB project (funded
by UNITAID) aimed at increasing laboratory capacity in high MDR-TB burden
countries as well being implemented in several endemic countries outside of
the Expand TB project.

However, Hain Lifescience has made the decision to more than double the
price per test for the new version of GenoType MTBDRplus, placing undue
burden on stretched TB programme budgets and jeopardizing fragile progress
that has been made in implementing improved diagnostic tools that can
increase access to life-saving treatment. The previous version of the test
cost approximately EUR 3.50, but the new version is priced at EUR 7.50,
including training and technical support services.

New molecular-based rapid diagnostic tools represent the first real
technological leap in half a century for TB care, but implementation of
these new technologies has been slowed by prohibitive costs of new
platforms. New rapid diagnostics tools are helping to expose the true size
of the drug-resistant TB epidemic and get people on treatment faster.
Please join us by signing our open letter (attached) to Hain Lifescience to
ensure that its critical diagnostic tool is not priced out of reach of TB
programme budgets.  Ensuring accessibility of these critical tools is
urgently needed if we are to address the growing global crisis of MDR-TB,
and massive price hikes, like the one Hain has implemented, will only serve
to hinder implementation and put more lives at risk.

Please let us know by Monday 5 August if you can join this effort by sending
an email to access at msf.org with your organisation's name and location.

Go to http://www.msfaccess.org/our-work/tuberculosis for more information
and updates about the critical need to test and treat TB and its
drug-resistant forms.

Thank you,

Sharonann Lynch
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

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