Price reduction to aid in access of highly effective multidrug-resistant TB treatment

19 December 2022

NEW DELHI: Viatris, a global healthcare company, MedAccess, and TB Alliance have announced a new agreement to reduce the price of Pretomanid, a drug used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, by 34%.

Pretomanid is part of two new treatment regimens with high efficacy and shorter treatment durations recently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the preferred regimens for most drug-resistant tuberculosis patients.

Pretomanid (Pa) is used in combination with bedaquiline (B), linezolid (L), and sometimes moxifloxacin (M) to form BPaL and BPaLM – six-month, all-oral treatment regimens, found to be effective at curing 89-91% of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients treated.

Globally, less than two-thirds of drug-resistant TB patients are successfully treated. Previously recommended treatment options have been limited, expensive, toxic, and lengthy – requiring patients to take more than 20 pills per day for 9-20 months. With the new WHO guidance on TB treatment, almost all drug-resistant TB patients will now be eligible for the shorter BPaL/BPaLM regimens.

In July 2020, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved the TB drug Pretomanid for conditional access under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP), making India the second country in the world to provide regulatory approval for this product.

As TB is on track to regain its dubious distinction as the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing more than three times as many people as COVID-19 every day, bold investments are required to reverse the recent increases and get on track to meet global goals to end the disease.

“We welcome this news and commend Viatris, MedAccess, and TB Alliance for the announcement of a new agreement to reduce the price of pretomanid, a drug used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, by 34%,” said Blessi Kumar, CEO, Global Coalition of TB Activists.

 “Coming on the heels of the WHO consolidated guidelines for DR-TB treatment, we hope this will be the game changer in ensuring access for people with DR-TB and reaching better treatment outcomes.”

Governments and global procurers are expected to make direct savings of $15.6 million thanks to the guarantee, with additional savings for national healthcare budgets as they care for fewer patients with long-term MDR-TB.

“Drug-resistant TB is a global health threat impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year,” said Michael Anderson, CEO of MedAccess, adding that “Working in partnership, can accelerate access to shorter-course DR-TB treatment to protect lives, help end TB, and curb antimicrobial resistance. A volume guarantee will provide Viatris with confidence to significantly reduce the price of pretomanid, making this highly-effective drug more widely accessible for people who need it.”

Viatris President Rajiv Malik said “ We are proud of our innovative partnership with MedAccess and TB Alliance in setting new standards for accelerating the pace of access and delivering breakthrough treatments to patients in the greatest need. The partnership is a step forward in the global fight against TB to enable greater access and affordability for those affected by multidrug-resistant TB.”

 “Whether it is the United States at the height of the COVID-19 emergency, or Ukraine in a time of war, six-month DR-TB therapy has already proven itself to be an invaluable tool in the fight against TB,” said Mel Spigelman, MD, President and CEO, TB Alliance.

 “This price reduction agreement is great news,” said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.

The new ceiling price will be available to more than 140 governments, and NGOs and public sector procurers purchasing pretomanid in those countries.

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