Sanofi, Unitaid partnership cuts price of tuberculosis drug

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on October 31, 2019

The rifapentine 150mg tablets costs will be cut down from €13.60/pack of 24 tablets to a price of €4.62/pack of 24 tablets

Sanofi in partnership with Unitaid and the Global Fund announced a two-third reduction in the price of Rifampetine (Priftin), a key preventive drug for tuberculosis (TB).

The cut could mean some cheer for millions of TB patients across the globe. Accordingly, the rifapentine (Priftin®) 150mg tablets costs will be cut down from €13.60/pack of 24 tablets to a price of €4.62/pack of 24 tablets, a 66 per cent discount.

The discounted price will be available to the public sectors of low-income countries, lower-middle income countries, and upper-middle-income countries with a high burden of TB and TB-HIV, an announcement to this effect was made at the ongoing 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health In Hyderabad.

The week long conference is convened by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

The move comes after the promising Phase IIb results of the M72 TB vaccine candidate reported by pharmaceutical company GSK and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) earlier this week at the TB Science pre-conference event here.

On Wednesday, several advocacy groups had urged global Pharma majors to cut the costs of atleast three new drugs that have hit the market recently so that they are affordable for TB patients, who are largely poor. The price of a full treatment course for a multi-drug therapy was fixed at $1040, which was termed too high.

The burden of TB is very high and the target of wiping it out in a decade will turn difficult if the prices are high, the groups at the conference argued. The nexus between TB and AIDS was also a big challenge in the treatment.

The Union World Conference is the world’s largest gathering of clinicians, policy makers, public health managers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease, with a focus specifically on the challenges faced by low- and middle-income countries.

Some 3,500 delegates from over 80 countries are attending the event which was inaugurated on Wednesday by the Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu at the Opening Ceremony. Film and television actress Claire Forlani ambassador for The Union Ren Minghui. Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization, senior representatives of the State of Telangana, and Nandita Venkatesan, a TB survivor also addressed the large gathering.

Published on October 31, 2019

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