SA secures huge saving in MDR-TB drug price

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The price of a drug used in South Africa for the treatment of Multidrug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) is to be reduced from R10 000 to about R5 400 a patient, effective immediately.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, made the announcement during his opening address at the 22nd International AIDS Conference taking place in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Motsoaledi said the price reduction for Bedaquiline would translate into a saving of close to R500 million for South Africa in just eight months.

South Africa has been at the forefront in the replacement of the injectable phase of treating MDR-TB with Bedaquiline to shorten the treatment regimen for people affected by drug-resistant TB.

Bedaquiline has been used in South Africa since 2013 and about 15 000 patients have been treated so far.

The announcement by Motsoaledi was received with jubilation by many in attendance who would also benefit from the reduced price.

Motsoaledi is also Chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Board, which represents numerous international organisations, government programmes, research and funding agencies, NGOs and civil society groups, and the private sector.

Update MDR-TB treatment guidelines

The Minister also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to urgently update the MDR-TB treatment guidelines to reflect the body of evidence available on the use of Bedaquiline in the treatment of drug resistant TB.

"What an amazing announcement to end this 12-hour marathon meeting on TB. Basically, South Africa has negotiated down the price of Bedaquiline and the world will benefit,” Stop TB Partnership Executive Director, Lucia Ditiu reacted after the announcement.

Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, said that the new price of 400 USD for a six-month course of treatment, will be available to all programmes procuring from the Stop TB Partnerships Global Drug Facility. -