Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) has called upon US drug maker c (J&J) to cut down the price of its new tuberculosis drug Bedaquiline, as the high price of the drug is depriving patients of best possible treatment, the humanitarian group said on Tuesday.
MSF said that its research shows that the Drug Resistant TB treatment regimes, containing the two new drugs of Bedaquiline and Delamanid represent a significant price increase over older, no-longer-recommended treatment regimens.
The estimated price of longer individualized treatment regimens could now reach more than US$2,000 for people who need at least 18 months of bedaquiline, a 50% price increase over previous standard treatment, MSF said- while those who need both bedaquiline and delamanid for as long as 20 months, the price increase could reach 500%, with a treatment regimen priced at around $9,000.
Though J&J has announced a price reduction for bedaquiline in some countries, where the company has offered to sell the drug at $400 for six months of treatment. But the aid organization said this price is still too high.
“Our analysis clearly shows that the high price of the two newer TB drugs makes today’s best-possible treatment much more expensive than previous treatment regimens,” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV & TB advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign.
Bedaquiline is the first antibiotic against drug resistant TB to have come into the market in 40 years, in August this year the World Health Organization recommended the use of the drug as part of the core treatment against DR-TB, instead of the injection regimen which is currently under use.
J&J received substantial taxpayer money from the US and other governments for the development of bedaquiline, and therefore has a clear responsibility to make sure the public gets a return on this investment by making the drug affordable for everyone who needs it.
To ensure the drug is accessible to all, MSF called on J&J to issue a non-exclusive license to the Medicines Patent Pool to allow for price-lowering competition among generic producers.
MSF in its public statement said that since J&J received substantial taxpayer money from the US and other governments for the development of Bedaquiline, has a clear responsibility to make sure the public gets a return on this investment by making the drug affordable for everyone who needs it.