Doctors Without Borders called on Johnson & Johnson to lower the cost of its anti-tuberculosis drug bedaquiline to $1 or less per day and allow other drugmakers to make generic versions.
The drug currently costs roughly $2 per day in countries eligible to purchase it through the United Nations’ Global Drug Facility. Bedaquiline costs approximately $1,200 for 20 months of treatment via the program, putting it out of reach many patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, says the aid group, formally known as Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The World Health Organization recommends the therapy as part of an all-oral treatment strategy. But fewer than 12,000 patients have been treated with bedaquiline since the WHO recommended its use, MSF said.
“Rapid rollout of better-tolerated treatment containing bedaquiline will happen only if J&J makes it widely available in an affordable way, including by allowing other tuberculosis drug manufacturers to make generic versions,” MSF said.