Pharma must slash TB drug prices – MSF

Medecins Sans Frontieres is calling on the pharma industry to slash the price of latest tuberculosis drugs, in the developing world.

The charity is also calling on GlaxoSmithKline to honour a promise to cut the price of pneumococcal vaccines in the developing world by 10%.

MSF today launched a report raising concerns about lack of availability of the latest tuberculosis drugs, at a time when resistance to older medicines is on the increase in the developing world.

In the published ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on Thursday, MSF found that only a tiny proportion of patients in the developing world gain access to new TB drugs.

MSF is calling on Otsuka to cut the price of a six month course of its recently developed Deltyba (delamanid), currently around $1,700, by 98%.

The MSF has suggested that Otuska could use the Medicines Patent Pool to voluntarily license the drug to generics firms for use in developing countries.

Pfizer and Sanofi should also cut prices for linezolid in South Africa and there should be more use of the Medicines Patent Pool.

MSF said pharma companies should file new TB medicines, linezolid, clofazimine, imipenem/cilastin and bedaquiline and delamanid in all high-burden countries.

Meanwhile, MSF added that GSK must now honour a promise by outgoing CEO, Sir Andrew Witty to reduce the price of its Synflorix pneumococcal vaccine.

Witty said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies even in Washington DC last week: “Because we are seeing so much volume our economics on pneumococcal vaccine are running better than we expected.

“As a consequence of that I am very happy to tell you today, although it is not contractually required, there is no pressure, I have a contract that I can enforce for ever, we are going to announce that we will reduce the price of Synflorix for the GAVI countries by a further 10%.”

Witty, who last week announced he will retire in a year’s time, told the Bio-Pharma Industry and Society conference that the price will fall from about $3.45 to about $3.05 per dose.

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