Friday, 15 March 2013

TUBERCULOSIS: Global Drug Facility achieves price reduction for drug-resistant TB treatments

NUTTALL, Samuel George

Date:Thu, Mar 14, 2013 12:49 pm
The Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility has reduced the price of several second-line drugs it supplies for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) by up to 26% compared to 2011 prices, resulting in a decrease in the overall cost of treatment.

The price reduction follows a competitive tendering process among TB drug manufacturers and ongoing efforts by GDF and its partners to consolidate orders and broaden the supplier base for quality-assured MDR-TB drugs. A recent capacity assessment performed by GDF indicates that, with the increased number of manufacturers now able to supply quality-assured second-line drugs, production capacity could be rapidly expanded to meet increased demand.

GDF has also increased the number of MDR-TB drug combinations delivered. In 2012, GDF delivered MDR-TB drugs for more than 30 000 patients, compared to 19 000 in 2011. An estimated 60 000 cases of MDR-TB were notified to WHO in 2011. This represents just 13% of the 440 000 estimated new cases of MDR-TB in 2011.

“As of today, the availability of quality drugs is not the limiting factor for scaling up MDR-TB programmes,” said Joel Keravec, GDF Manager a.i. “But there needs to be more ambition and coordination among partners in the fight against MDR-TB to strengthen both the supply and demand sides of the market, which is still quite fragile. This means more work to improve the diagnostic and treatment capacities of the most affected health systems, and continued efforts to monitor and forecast the number of patients diagnosed through existing and new technologies and enrolled in the public and private sectors. Communication of these data and trends to manufacturers will certainly help to further consolidate the supply of quality-assured TB drugs for populations in need.”

A breakdown of the price reductions achieved by GDF and its partners is available on the Stop TB Partnership website. Since GDF supplies MDR-TB drugs in different combinations depending on countries’ needs and policies, the prices shown in this breakdown are based on some treatment regimens only and should not be used for budgeting purposes without taking into account countries’ specific requirements.

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