[Ip-health] MSF: Developing countries hit with high price for important new TB drug

Joanna Keenan joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 08:30:20 PST 2016

*Developing countries hit with high price for important new tuberculosis
drug *
More than two years after drug approved, only 180 people globally have
received it

Geneva, 24 February 2016 — International medical humanitarian organisation
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today expressed great concern at the high
price announced for the new tuberculosis (TB) drug delamanid. Japanese
pharmaceutical company Otsuka said that it would make delamanid available
to some developing countries at a price of US$1,700 per treatment course.
Delamanid is one of only two new drugs to treat TB to become available in
the last half a century, and is effective against the deadliest strains of
tuberculosis that are resistant to many of the other drugs used to treat
TB, including multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB.

Delamanid needs to be taken with several other drugs to effectively treat
drug-resistant TB (DR-TB); the regimens, without delamanid, already cost
between $1,000 – $4,500 per treatment course at the lowest prices available
to developing countries, which is unaffordable for governments.  To help
with widespread scale up of DR-TB treatment, MSF is advocating for a target
price of $500 per treatment course for drug-resistant TB.

Countries that are eligible for funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) will be able to purchase delamanid for
$1,700 per treatment course through the Global Drug Facility (GDF), a
UN-based procurement mechanism for TB drugs, as long as the drug is
registered for use in their country or the necessary import waivers have
been put in place.

To date, Otsuka has registered delamanid in only four countries (Germany,
Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom), none of which has a high
burden of DR-TB.  The company should register delamanid in high DR-TB
burden countries and in countries where clinical trials for the drug took
place. The agreement between GDF and Ostuka leaves out countries ineligible
for GFATM funding, including high burden countries like the Russian
Federation and the Philippines.

“Countries should start scaling up treatment for more people with
drug-resistant TB using the most effective drugs available, but delamanid
is neither affordable nor available in most countries today”, said Dr.
Grania Brigden, TB Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. “The price for
delamanid needs to come down to an affordable level, and Otsuka should also
register delamanid quickly in all countries where the drug has been tested
in clinical trials, as well as in countries with the highest burdens of
drug-resistant TB.  If people can’t access delamanid, this promising new
drug will be effectively worthless.”

It is estimated that up to two thirds of the nearly half a million people
who acquire drug-resistant TB each year could benefit from delamanid;
however, in the two years since the drug was approved, only 180 people have
received this new treatment.

“Otsuka should prioritise expanding access for people whose lives could be
saved by delamanid”, said Dr. Brigden. “Every effort should be made to
ensure as many people as possible can benefit from this promising new
treatment, but that’s unfortunately not what we’re seeing today.”


MSF has been involved in tuberculosis (TB) care for 30 years, and in
treating multidrug-resistant TB since 1999.  MSF is now one of the largest
NGO treatment providers for drug-resistant TB. In 2014, the organisation
treated over 23,000 patients with TB, including 1,800 patients with
drug-resistant TB.  MSF aims to scale up the use of delamanid in its
programs, and in December 2015 accepted a donation of delamanid for use in
MSF programmes and endTB partnership projects.

DR-TB drug regimen prices are from the forthcoming MSF publication, DR-TB
Drugs Under the Microscope, 4th Edition, to be published in March 2016.

*Joanna Keenan*
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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