Friday November 15, 2019

New Tuberculosis Treatment for 150 Countries Including India and South Africa to Cost $1,040

BPaL is an oral treatment which promises a shorter, more convenient option to existing TB treatment options, which use a cocktail of antibiotic drugs

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Tuberculosis, Treatment, Countries
A tuberculosis patient receives treatment at the TB Hospital in Gauhati, India, March 24, 2012. VOA

A newly approved three-drug treatment for tuberculosis will be available in 150 countries including India and South Africa, priced at $1,040 for a complete regimen, more than twice the cost proposed in the past by advocacy groups for other treatments.

The United Nations-backed Stop TB Partnership said on Monday that BPaL would be obtainable in eligible countries through the Global Drug Facility (GDF), a global provider of TB medicines created in 2001 to negotiate lower prices for treatments.

Tuberculosis was responsible for 1.5 million deaths in 2018.

BPaL is an oral treatment which promises a shorter, more convenient option to existing TB treatment options, which use a cocktail of antibiotic drugs over a period of up to two years.

Tuberculosis, Treatment, Countries
The United Nations-backed Stop TB Partnership said on Monday that BPaL would be obtainable in eligible countries through the Global Drug Facility (GDF), a global provider. Pixabay

The new cocktail, which will treat extensively drug-resistant strains of the illness, consists of drug developer TB Alliance’s newly-approved medicine pretomanid, in combination with linezolid and Johnson & Johnson’s bedaquiline.

Pretomanid, which will be available at $364 per treatment course, is only the third new medicine for drug-resistant tuberculosis to be approved in about 40 years, after J&J’s bedaquiline and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s delamanid.

Criticism

Advocacy groups have long criticized the cost for bedaquiline and delamanid. Not-for-profit Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has waged a running battle in public with J&J over its $400 price tag for a six-month course for bedaquiline.

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MSF has argued that bedaquiline could be produced and sold at a profit for 25 cents per day, and that the price of treatments for drug-resistant TB should be no higher than $500 for a complete treatment course.

Leena Menghaney, the South-Asia head for MSF’s Access Campaign, said it was a cause of concern that pretomanid was priced just below the price of bedaquiline.

But Stop TB Partnership says costs of other regimens for extremely drug-resistant TB range from $2,000 to $8,000 — for courses of at least 20 months.

Drugmakers

Tuberculosis, Treatment, Countries
Tuberculosis was responsible for 1.5 million deaths in 2018. Pixabay

TB Alliance in April granted a license to U.S. drugmaker Mylan NV to manufacture and sell pretomanid as part of certain regimens in high-income markets, as well as a non-exclusive license for low-income and middle-income countries, where most tuberculosis cases occur.

Stop TB Partnership said it would start supplying the regimen following World Health Organization’s guidance on using the drug. Mylan, however, said it will also sell the drug directly to countries.

Prices in low-income countries would be in-line with the price offered through GDF, but would be decided on a case by case basis where the drug is not supplied through GDF, it said.

The drug will be available in bottles of 26 tablets, with a six-month treatment requiring seven bottles.

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India-based Macleods Pharmaceuticals Ltd has also been granted a non-exclusive license to make pretomanid as part of the BPaL regimen, TB Alliance said Monday.

The maker of generic drugs will market the treatment in about 140 countries with high tuberculosis rates. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s Why Complimentary Cancer Therapies Can Cause More Harm

Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer

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Cancer
It is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for Cancer that has spread to the skin. Pixabay

A medical expert has said that Cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment.

Maria Joao Cardoso, the head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it is best not to take anything, she added.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Cardoso told the BBC.

She said that it is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that has spread to the skin. This happens in one in five cases of breast cancer, and less in other cancers.

The danger is that many products can interfere with the hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process, which can lead to wounds taking longer time to heal and more scarring.

She said that herbal products like green chiretta, feverfew, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric slow down clotting.

Cancer
A medical expert has said that Cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment. Pixabay

Cardoso said that it is not surprising that patients and their carers go searching for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference.

But she said people should know that “they could end up doing more harm than good”.

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“The highest goal in medicine is important to remember: Do no harm,” she said.

As per the website of Cancer Research UK, some complementary therapies might stop conventional treatments working as well as they should. (IANS)