A new agreement announced last week by Unitaid, the Global Fund and Sanofi drastically lowers the price of Priftin, a drug used for preventing tuberculosis, according to a press release. The pricing agreement has the potential to significantly help people in low-income countries with a high burden of disease.
“This new price is opening the door for wider financing — through national budgets or donor support — and uptake of shorter, less toxic [TB] prevention therapy in low- and middle-income high-burden TB countries,” Gavin Churchyard, MBBCh, FCP (SA), MMed, PhD, founder and CEO of the Aurum Institute, a partner in the agreement, told Infectious Disease News. “This is significant because it means we can now purchase better TB prevention products for people who are living with HIV and people living in the same household of a person infected with TB — especially important in the case of young children.”
Churchyard added that the pricing agreement “brings us one step closer to meeting the targets set during last year’s U.N. high-level meeting on TB.”
According to the release, the agreement brings Priftin (rifapentine, Sanofi) 150 mg tablets down from 13.60 euros per pack of 24 tablets to a net discounted ex-factory price of 4.62 euros per pack of 24 tablets — a 66% discount. Aurum says the discounted price will be available to the public sectors of low-, lower middle and upper middle income countries with a high burden of TB and TB/HIV coinfection.
Additionally, health organizations are preparing to roll out a shorter regimen for preventing TB disease called 3HP, which consists of 3 months of rifapentine and isoniazid. According to the news release, the Aurum Institute and other partners in the IMPAACT4TB project, to which Unitaid has invested $59 million, has been facilitating the regulatory approval of 3HP products in 12 countries, representing 46% of the global TB burden.
“Priftin is currently the only quality-assured rifapentine formulation available for short-course treatment of latent TB infection,” Churchyard explained. “Multiple clinical studies have shown that patients are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to complete the shorter regimen, when compared to the current standard of care, isoniazid preventive therapy, in which people take isoniazid every day for between 6 and 36 months. Shorter, once-weekly dosing puts far less burden on TB programs and a much lower pill burden on patients.”
The release noted that the agreement would bring the treatment course of rifapentine from $45 to $15.
“Aurum, through support from Unitaid, is committed to maintaining affordable access to rifapentine beyond 2020,” Churchyard said. “If countries plan to prevent TB not only in people living with HIV and children but also invest in treating TB infection in household contacts, 3HP could prevent up to 6.5 million TB infections by 2025 in children, adolescents and adults in high-TB-burdened settings.” – by Caitlyn Stulpin
Disclosure: Churchyard is an employee of the Aurum Institute.