Landmark: Sanofi announces to reduce price of TB drug Rifapentine by 70 percent
HYDERABAD: In a landmark development, global biopharmaceutical company Sanofi will lower the price of Rifapentine, a critically important drug used to prevent tuberculosis (TB), as part of the agreement with Unitaid, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an official release said on Thursday.
The announcement came at the 50 th Union World Conference on Lung Health 2019 being held here.
Scale-up of affordable Rifapentine stands to benefit over a million people in India alone, where more people suffer from TB than anywhere else in the world.
The Indian government has set ambitious targets to eliminate TB by 2025.
Sanofi's rifapentine medicine, Priftin, is already on the list of WHO prequalified products, registered in 11 countries and is in the process of being registered in many other countries.
"Sanofi is very pleased to have concluded this innovative agreement. We believe that this sustainable commercial approach will widen access to the new standard of care for latent tuberculosis infection. Through this Global Health initiative, Sanofi remains at the forefront of the fight against Tuberculosis," Jon Fairest, Vice President, External Affairs-Africa and Eurasia Middle East, Sanofi, said.
The volume-based agreement will discount the price of a three-month treatment course of Rifapentine by nearly 70 per cent, from approximately USD45 to USD15 (ex works) in the public sectors of 100 low and middle-income countries burdened by TB and TB/HIV coinfection, the release said.
"Effective TB prevention will be a game-changer in the global fight to eliminate one of the major killer diseases. This lifesaving drug has, until now, been completely unaffordable in developing countries. This agreement will help transform political commitment to tangible action," Unitaid's Executive Director Lelio Marmora said.
The deal will bolster efforts to treat latent TB infection - currently estimated to affect 1.7 billion people worldwide - by broadening access to better preventive therapy, the release said.
A quarter of the world's population is infected with latent TB they have no symptoms, are not contagious and most do not know they are infected.
Without treatment, 5 to 10 per cent of these people 85 million to 170 million people globally will develop active TB, the form which makes people sick and can be transmitted from person to person.
HIV infection makes people up to 37 times more likely to fall ill with the active disease. Close to 1.5 million people die of TB every year.